How to Write Full Time & Stay Sane: Mac Freedom

How to Write Full Time and Stay Sane is a series that offers advice to full-time writers about how to stay productive and in good spirits.

Understatement: Staying on task when writing is difficult.

Without a boss cracking the whip, it’s easy to get distracted by the gazillions of things the Internet offers.  I tell myself I’m only going to do a quick Internet sweep (which, for me, includes checking my e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, my blog, my writing social network on Ning, and occasionally MySpace), but then I look at the clock, and an hour has passed.  Yikes!

Since embarking on this full-time-writing journey, I discovered Mac Freedom, a program that allows you to block yourself from the Internet for as long as you want—up to eight hours at a time.

I first heard about this free program, able to be downloaded right from the Internet, when I interviewed the über talented middle-grade and young adult author Lauren Myracle back in October.  I had asked her how she stays so productive (she’s written 15 books in about six years, and—just today—she announced that she turned in the first draft of a Luy Ya Bunches sequel; the woman’s a machine!), and she gave me the scoop on one of her little secrets.

Although it’s free, the creator asks if you’ll donate $10 to keep it going—but the donation is not required.  However, I dare you to try the program and not feel compelled to cough up the cash.

It’s been an extremely useful tool for me, and I recommend it to anyone who is prone to Internet procrastination—and has a Mac (and no one’s paying me to say that).

I still need to be able to check my e-mail throughout the day, so I generally set it for an hour or two at a time, but it really helps me block out the rest of the world and just write—which is, after all, the most important thing one needs to do when writing full time!

Here's the picture Myracle & I took together after the interview. Such an exciting day for me! I learned so much!

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