Novelists, Entranced By The Web
I’m skeptical of the term “Internet addiction,” but this is an interesting article by McCarton Ackerman in Salon about how one particular group of people—novelists—deal with the omnipresent distractions of the web:
“Internet addiction can be especially harmful for those who make a living through intense focus—such as novelists. A number of esteemed writers including Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Zadie Smith have come forward to admit they are powerless over the endless distractions of the Internet, and to name a new solution: two software programs called Freedom and Self Control.
These are computer applications that can be downloaded and configured to increase productivity by completely blocking Internet access at specific times. Smith, whose new novel NW features a character addicted to online message boards, thanks these programs in the book’s acknowledgements ‘for creating the time.’
Novelist Ned Beauman says he finds the web is ‘good in egalitarian terms that all that information is [available] for free, but the Internet is definitely pandering to our worst instincts.’ To protect himself from its siren song, he utilizes an intricate method of restriction to block ‘virtually all newspaper and magazine websites as well as blogs and Twitter.’” Read more here.
Any readers out there resort to such measures in order to get work done? I find that the method that works best for me is to “reward” myself with Internet access after a certain period (say, an hour) of writing. Often I get so involved in writing that I forget to collect on my reward. When you’re constantly flipping back and forth between work and the web, you never get a chance to develop the gratifying sense of immersion that can feel just as good as checking your email.
But tell me: what works for you?