30 September 2012

A digital siren's song?

"Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet." This is tip #7 from Zadie Smith on writing. By no means an outrageous suggestion on face value, it sounds like solid advice. Certainly software developers have got behind productivity aids. I have friends who write who swear by Freedoman app that locks out the internet from your computer for a designated time, hours, days…months? 

But this is all a bit misleading, surely. Technology evolves at a rapid rate. It seems banal, almost, that we have the internet on our phones now. Moving forwards it seems inevitable that the web will be ever present. You might lock yourself out of the internet on your PC but you'll still have access via your phone, tablet or Google Glasses. I think Zadie Smith has half the equation right: be mindful of the distraction the world wide web offers. But I think the better advice is to train oneself to _ignore_ the internet altogether. It's just another of those writer's Siren's songs that try to draw us away from the work. Chalk it up, somewhat less romantically, to the growing list — drink, drugs, carousing, ennui and now the web.

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