Three summers ago, novelist Jonathan Franzen was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. One of the things I will never forget from the feature article on Franzen, written by Lev Grossman and published on August 12, 2010, is when Franzen mentions what he did with his computer. Grossman writes:
Because Franzen believes you can’t write serious fiction on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, he not only removed the Dell’s wireless card but also permanently blocked its Ethernet port. “What you have to do,” he explains, “is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it.”
I mean, he’s Jonathan Franzen. He can do what he wants. But still.
I’m a huge fan of focusing on writing when you’re writing– but when I read this, I gasped. Permanently disabling your internet in such a crude way makes me cringe (and for most people who need to use the internet or can’t afford a second computer, it’s completely unthinkable.)
But even though I would never, ever, ever superglue an Ethernet cable into my Ethernet port and “saw off the little head of it,” I fully appreciate and support Franzen’s intention behind it. I really believe in the value of focusing on writing and giving it your complete attention, without getting distracted, and it’s often difficult to escape the loudness of the world and the Siren-call of the interwebs every day without taking extreme measures.
Over the past few years, I’ve found a few different methods for focusing only on writing when I’m writing. I came up with some ideas on my own, and others, I borrowed from authors I admire. For the next four days, I will share these ideas with you. If you have some ideas about focusing on writing, too, please share them!
Coming up tomorrow: The Perils of Multitasking!