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!