Friday, January 8, 2010

Get back to work!


I'm giving you an advance warning of the irony of this blog. Because as you are reading this blog, I am going to tell you to stop reading this blog and get back to work. Stop reading about writing and get back to writing.

If you're still reading this, you haven't taken my advice, but I'm hoping that by continuing to read, you will get a few tools that will make it easier to take my advice. Got it?

The internet is my greatest tool and my greatest enemy. Living where I do, at the corner of No and Where, I use it to connect with people I can't see face to face. I use it to brainstorm with my writing partner. I use it to discover facts that I need right now that I normally wouldn't have access too (see above) - as in, how does a doctor do a triple bypass and what is a bypass anyway?

And here comes the HOWEVER. When God sent Adam out of the Garden he put a curse on the earth. So every blessing has a downside. Every light casts a shadow. And in the case of the internet the shadow can be large, looming and hard to ignore. You'll be writing along, hit a snag and 'hey, have I gotten any e-mail lately?' or 'I wonder if anything new has been posted on that writing forum' or, my own current personal nemesis, 'how's that cricut cartridge doing on e-bay?' - which I shouldn't have even allowed to enter my mind because I promised myself I would get this blog post done before I do anything else.

These are only the distractions I could think of as I was typing this. I'm sure each of you have your own guilty pleasures. I look for distractions because writing is hard work. I like the finished product, but I don't like getting there. Even after publishing thirty some odd books, I still struggle with this. But I've also noticed that the more I force myself to stay on task, the easier it gets. I get more writing done in a day than I used to. And the reason? I've stayed away, as much as possible, from the busy work of writing. Checking e-mail every five minutes. Surfing the 'net. Do I have amazing willpower?

Nope. I have programs. Now I run a Mac so for those of you who do as well, here are some wonderful tools I use. One is a ridiculously simple program called Freedom (http://macfreedom.com/) What it does is turn off the internet for however long you decide. It's wonderful. Another one I really like is called Concentrate (getconcentrating.com) It not only shuts off the internet, it turns off any application that might be a distraction for you. Plus it sends out a message every ten minutes that you can customize. Mine is a growly voice that encourages me to 'keep writing'. Also great.

For you PC users, I can't testify to how these work, but I did find these programs.
http://lifehacker.com/245774/lifehacker-code-dropcloth-windows
Another place I found was this one:
http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Skrommel/#MinimOther

If you scroll down and do some looking you can find programs that will shut down programs, put them aside, whatever your heart desires.

Sometimes we need willpower, sometimes we need help. I need help. However, there is a proviso to using these programs. They only work if you turn them on! And sometimes that can be just as hard to do as to get writing. But once they are on, you might be amazed at how much more you can do when you get rid of the biggest distraction for writers. The internet. Which you are using right now to read this blog.

So check out these programs and get back to work!

5 comments:

PamelaTracy said...

I confess. I am an email junkiee. Sigh.

CAROLINE said...

I like http://writeordie.drwicked.com/

You can use it online or download a desktop version.

Faith Imagined said...

Such an honest post that I can identify with! I need to check into some of these resources!

-Alisa Hope

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, I've never heard of these! I especially like how you set yours to order you to write in that growly voice! LOL

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