Saturday, 10 January 2009

HOWTO: Write in a World Full of Distractions.

Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame and author of quite a number of SF novels (look 'em up 'cos I'm too lazy to google them for you), has an article up on Locus Online on how to deal with the distractions of the Internet while writing.

He doesn't believe in switching it off--the most obvious route--but has a number of useful tips to keep those distractions at bay. Some of them are obvious, like switching off your IM and carving out a regular writing routine, but the one I find most useful is his cautioning not to research:
Researching isn't writing and vice-versa. When you come to a factual matter that you could google in a matter of seconds, don't. Don't give in and look up the length of the Brooklyn Bridge, the population of Rhode Island, or the distance to the Sun. That way lies distraction — an endless click-trance that will turn your 20 minutes of composing into a half-day's idyll through the web. Instead, do what journalists do: type "TK" where your fact should go, as in "The Brooklyn bridge, all TK feet of it, sailed into the air like a kite." "TK" appears in very few English words (the one I get tripped up on is "Atkins") so a quick search through your document for "TK" will tell you whether you have any fact-checking to do afterwards. And your editor and copyeditor will recognize it if you miss it and bring it to your attention.

Follow the link to read more!

2 comments:

  1. this is good advice.

    my big distraction now is second life, so i've given my avatar a writing desk and a pen and she applies bum glue while i get on with the writing task and if we both manage that for an hour or two we go shopping together!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha! But can your avatar stay long enough glued to her chair?

    I'm lucky I don't have a second life account...yet.

    ReplyDelete

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