Monthly Archives: January 2012

How Technology Rescues Us from Itself

So it has been a week since my last post, which is obviously pretty slack. I can give you a bunch of shit about how busy/stressful/whatever my week was (and it was) but it’s not relevant.

I have been regularly using Write or Die and it has been working miracles. I can bang out about 500 words in twenty minutes. Granted, they are repetitive words formed into messy, grammatically incorrect and often uninteresting sentences. BUT they are still words. And you gotta have SOMETHING to work with. No point trying to put a puzzle together with no pieces. Am I right?

So, I have taken one small chunk of rubble and had a go at carving it into something. Wendy has just stumbled across a praying mantis in an azalea bush…

“At first it stayed perfectly still. Then slowly it began to make its way across the leafy branch. It moved steadily. Its steps were soft yet deliberate, as if it thought it might wake someone. Wendy was taken aback by how green it was. Neon, lime, chartreuse. It was large too, larger than she was strictly comfortable with. Coming face to face with it while it was in its shrub was ok, but she imagined meeting it in her bedroom in the dark. Or what if when she switched the bathroom light on in the middle of the night, instead of the usual curled up spider in the corner, this unfeasible creature was crouched waiting for her? She would be terribly shaken. Things belonged where they belonged. Every thing is made to fit within the place it is meant to exist in, and if some thing is encountered outside of its place, it can seem monstrous. This twig-like thing, painted in all its chlorophyllic beauty, belonged in this shrub.
She surveyed the space around her, the school yard, the upstairs windows of her apartment, the steeple on the Presbyterian church, and wondered if she was in the right place. Or if she was a monster.”

I’m sure this bit will change and change again. Maybe it will even get deleted from the narrative altogether, as that is the nature of constructing a story. You have to not only know what to leave in but what to leave out as well. But for now, I like it.

Anyway, my latest hurdle to true writerly focus is the ever present Facebook. It’s like a scab that you just can’t help but pick. I can be writing along all fine and dandy and then all of sudden, I’ll just HAVE to check facebook. It’s obsessively habitual, unnecessary and incredibly unproductive. Like smoking. So, I did a little research and decided to give this a try. It shuts off all access to your internet connection for however long you program it for. If you absolutely NEED to get online during this time you have to reboot your computer, which is such a hassle that it’s meant to keep you from cheating. The first time I used it I had urges, cravings even, to refresh Facebook and Gmail. But I couldn’t. Which was weirdly unnerving. But eventually I let it go and just wrote through to the end of the time period I had set.

There are two downsides to this at the moment. One, I only have the free trial which means I can only use it 4 more times. I think I am going to have to shell out a tenner and get the proper one and really retrain myself to have an attention span. But, number two is, I can’t use the free web app of Write or Die while I have Freedom set. So this meant I actually didn’t write straight through the time frame. I kept stopping, pondering specific words, going back and re-reading what I had just written. All the things that I am trying NOT to do. So, I suppose I will have to shell out a second tenner for the desktop version of Write or Die so I can use it while offline. And then, SURELY, I will be unstoppable.

Luckily they are only American tenners.