Wednesday, April 01, 2009

FREEDOM -- oh my god, in the nick of time!!

Oh my god, how much do I need this? Freedom. It's such a hilarious contradiction, that "freedom" is to be found in restriction, but I get it. I soooo get it. Need it. Need to be saved from myself, from wi-fi. And the timing couldn't be more perfect. Yesterday my facebook status read:

"Laini Taylor tried writing by HAND this morning, in a NOTEBOOK, just to escape the siren song of wireless internet and all its many, many distractions. As soon as I gave in and cracked open my computer, I was swept away on a tide of distraction."

I lamented to Stephanie this morning in an email how I can feel my attention span atrophying these days, how I can be engrossed in what I am writing and still get a sudden irresistible urge to check my email or my blog. It's insidious. I've considered disconnecting my wi-fi, but not seriously, because yo, I love my wi-fi. But something has to happen!

And then today, just NOW, I came across this headline article on Salon.com, when I was on one of those inexplicable forays away from my work, right in the middle of a paragraph. A paragraph in which someone was dying for god's sake, and I just left him there, clutching at a wound (a wound so hopeless and gruesome that trying to hold it closed is like "gathering up a handful of meat scraps to fling to a dog") to check my blog, which I knew would have no new comments, and jeez, even if it did, so what? I mean: dying! Meat scraps! Ick! Awful! Why didn't that hold my attention?

And then I saw it. Salvation. Freedom. A free application designed for Macs to disable wireless networking for a specified amount of time (from one minute to eight hours, it's up to you) -- so you can Get. Some. Work. Done.

Halleluja!! Thank you, Fred Stutzman!

How funny, how totally ironic, that I came here to blog about this instead of just doing it! I hover in fear at the edge of my soon-to-be-frozen networking. Can I do it? Can I live this way? Recently our horrible internet provider disconnected us twice in one week because of their own insistent clerical errors, and we were internetless for a couple of days. We were helpless as kittens. We had to go to a gas station to buy a map, so we could find a wedding in our own city -- we couldn't google it and we didn't even own a map! A zillion things came up every minute that we needed to look up. We had been thrust into the dark ages. It was so unsettling.

And yet, I see my brain changing. Seriously. Pathways are being altered in there. My attention span is being materially damaged. I think about kids growing up in this technological age, and wonder what we might do about our own (incipient and future offspring), how to nurture their attention spans (books, puzzles, drawing, puppet theaters) and still have a realistic balance with technology that will not leave them behind their peers (thinking of Feed, and the tragic consequences to the girl whose parents tried to nurture her brain free of invasive technology). Frick. What to do?

Well, for today, I'm going to try this Freedom thing. It'll be like writing by hand in a notebook, as I did yesterday, but without the cramping and bad handwriting! Ha ha. It's hilarious how excited I am about this. Gleeful. I'll let you know how it goes:-)

18 comments:

Kiersten said...

Oh, I am so with you there. My attention span has been damaged SO badly by the internet.

And I'm going to be better...really...just as soon as I finish reading your blog ; )

Lexi said...

DO IT!!! I will too. That is a very good sounding software!

Damon said...

The never-ending, intriguing battle with distraction. (Someone ought to write a book about it.)

They won't work for everyone, but here are some things that help me:

http://damon-young.blogspot.com/2008/09/steps-to-undistracted-life.html

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh my goodness! How funny! I *JUST* read about Freedom on Sara Zarr's blog, and I was totally about to email you the link!!

Let us know how it goes :)

Karina's Pen said...

Wow, I was having a conversation about this earlier today! How I am so easily distracted by the internet, that I lose my focus on my writing all the time! I keep telling myself, it is possible to turn on the laptop, write, and then connect, but I haven't been able to follow through yet! Good luck! :D

holly cupala said...

Good for you! My wireless days are far and away my most productive (5-6k, at their most outrageous).

Heather said...

Ha ha! I was going to suggest that you get Jim to put a net nanny on your computer and set it up with a password only he knows and set it for you to only be able to log on at certain times of day - but that freedom thingy sounds even better!

P.S. That's what we have on the kids' computer and it works like a hot darn. It will even email hubby if someone tries to log on to it and disable it!

tone almhjell said...

Yes, yes, do it! My Pan tried to get my computer to do this, but it didn't work for some reason. For a while, I had to write in coffee shops so I wouldn't just blog and surf and chat all day. But then I discovered that my favourite coffe place has free wi-fi. Dang.

Yet even a little obstacle helps. I'm going to turn off the wi-fi antenna on my computer now and pretend I don't know how to switch it on again. At least for one hour, then it's on to an even bigger distraction: food. Almost as nice as coffee and chocolate.

Katie said...

Oh. My. Gosh. this is an INCREDIBLE find! I am going to do it immediately! (after I click around for a while :-)

Alicia said...

This is very funny. I have to turn off my wi-fi to get anything done. :)

Suzanne Young said...

Isn't it crazy how helpless it is to not have internet?? haha. When I did my revisions, I'd just moved so I didn't have the internet, and my-oh-my. It was so much easier to stay focused. Then again, I was also unable to leave the house because I had no idea where I was and no way to find out!

You can do it! Kick the habit!

KJ said...

This problem just seems to grow over time. I bought a Neo for exactly this reason. It is a glorified typewriter, no email no internet capabilities. Because I know I cannot be trusted.

Granny Smith said...

Having suffered the crash of our own internet provider also twice last week (could it be the same one?!) I would have to be very brave to turn it off again. And then yesterday, by our own decision, we stayed off the internet all day since there was that rumor about a computer worm that was to strike on April 1. So now I am back on the internet, loving it, and not getting any writing done.

The Sunday Scribblings prompt should be something truly inspiring this week if I am to get back in writing mode!

Obviously a thought-provoking post!

Mardougrrl said...

I just downloaded it too, after reading that article yesterday.

My name is Mardougrrl, and I am completely without willpower when it comes to the internet. And it IS affecting the way I think. The more panicky I get about writing, the more I surf and surf and the worse I feel about everything.

Christine Fletcher said...

My first thought is, Thank god it's not just me who fritters away writing time--in the middle of a scene, no less!--in order to check something that can wait hours, or for that matter, forever. I feel a little less freakish--thank you for that! (And you SO need to get back to that wound..."meat scraps"...wow!)

I saw the Salon article, too, and Freedom is for MACS ONLY. Aaargh! What's a PC gal to do??

Amber said...

I worry about this ALL the time, with the kids! It IS hard! Luckily Wyatt loves legos, and can do that for hours...But sometimes me not letting him play video games-- you would think I were KILLING him. Actually killing him. Tears, sobs, and pouts like an addict. And we only let him play on weekends! he lives for it. *sigh* So good luck. LOL

Vivian said...

I thought I was the only one with no willpower. Thanks for the recommendation on Freedom.

Patry Francis said...

I tried Freedom twice, but both times it made my computer crash. Hope it's working better for you.