Thursday, 22 November 2012

Freedom - Josh Lacey

Last week, Lily Hyde wrote beautifully here about the Mayakovsky Museum in Moscow, which led her swiftly to a discussion of the infinite diversions offered by the internet.

Of course the internet is fabulously valuable for writers. If you want to write a novel about the Fourth Crusade, you can discover apt details about weaponry and costumes within moments. If you want to send your character to Tasmania, there's no need to fork out for a plane ticket; you can just spend a few minutes on Youtube and you'll pick up enough local information to fill a chapter.

Then there are emails to answer, blogs to write, facebook pages to update, newspapers to read, movies to watch - not to mention the constant stream of observations and witticisms demanded by twitter.

But there is an alternative.

It's called Freedom. It costs 10 dollars, but you can download it and use it for free for 90 days.

Freedom is a little program which does one simple thing: it turns off your internet.

You give it a time. Twenty minutes, perhaps, if you want to do a short burst of concentrated writing and then look up the weather forecast. Or eight hours if you're determined to cut yourself off for the entire day.

Then you're divorced from the internet.

It's just you and your computer.

Perhaps you use Freedom already. Many writers do. I saw it thanked in the acknowledgements of Zadie Smith's new novel, for instance.

Or perhaps you don't need it.

Perhaps you write in a hut on a mountantop.

Perhaps you write with a typewriter. Or a pen and paper.

Perhaps you have willpower of steel and never feel a twinge of distractability.

But if you're feeling a terrible addiction to the internet - if you're reading this, for instance, when you should be writing - then I can recommend Freedom.

Josh Lacey 

6 comments:

Sue Hyams said...

What a marvellous thing! Sometimes, in a fit of piousness, I turn the internet off only to turn it back on again 5 minutes later having got nothing done!

Clémentine Beauvais said...

Yes! it's wonderful! well personally I use Cold Turkey, which is completely free. I almost couldn't write without it...

David Thorpe said...

So now the American are making us pay for freedom :-) ? It must be to pay for the wars they wage on its behalf...

Emma Barnes said...

I'm going to check it out NOW.

Ann Turnbull said...

The little thingy that connects my computer to the wi-fi has just died, so I currently have unwanted freedom. I'm writing this on my husband's computer and sitting in his chair which is the wrong height and fiendishly uncomfortable - an excellent way of making sure I don't spend much time on the internet. Seriously though - Freedom seems a good idea if you enjoy technology. But my own method is to start working and not switch the computer on until at least midday.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Yes it's very tempting to switch back and forth even in the midst of something 'truly" important like a deadline that was yesterday! Will we pass on Attention Deficit Disorders to all future generations?