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Hi! This blog is for my classes at Texas Woman's University.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Freedom to Write

Happy 4th of July! We have been traveling so I had to delay my usual Wednesday post to today. However, I am thinking that it turned out to be an appropriate postponement, since my musing today is about freeing ourselves from distractions to write.

What does that mean? Well, for me, I can write when the kids are running around the house, I can write in a crowded coffee shop or at the library, but what trips me up the most is technology distracting me.

To help with the issue of technological distractions, I decided to try a product called Mac Freedom. I had heard about this on other writing blogs and decided to give it a try. Basically, what it does is shut down your connection to the Internet (and all its distractions) on your computer for a set amount of time.

I usually set my timer for 45 minutes when I need to write, and I have been amazed by my progress when I use Mac Freedom. Even more than that, I have been amazed at just how distracting the Internet and emails are to my writing. While I’m writing, I find myself trying to check my email or look something up online within about 10 minutes of getting started. Even though I should remember that the Internet is turned off, I attempt to check it three or four times within my 45 minute time period. Sometimes I am trying to look up something writing-related, but many times it’s just a random thought that pops into my head or something I meant to look up online earlier.

It's been eye opening to me how distractible I am when on the computer, and how easy it is to rather frivolously waste my writing time.  I have been glad that I went ahead and gave Mac Freedom a chance, since it really does help me focus and get through my writing goals for the day much more easily.

It doesn’t have to be Mac Freedom though, there are other ways to free myself from distractions while I write. My husband suggested that I could just turn off the Wi-Fi on my computer and achieve the same goals, but somehow I hadn’t thought of that - and for me, it seems too easy just to turn it back on. While Mac Freedom works for me since I currently have a MacBook, I am sure there are similar programs available for PCs. Another option - paper and pencil. The old-fashioned approach often helps me stay focused on my writing. Although I have to admit - my hand gets tired quickly! We must use different muscles to type than to write by hand.

One other trick, when I do use Mac Freedom I have to make sure my iPhone is far away. Otherwise I might pick it up and hop online before I even think of it. It’s crazy how automatic technology has become.

We need freedom from distraction to write. So take a while to think about what distracts you the most from writing. Then, think of ways you can conquer those distractions and declare freedom to write!

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