Writers are beating procrastination by blocking their internet access

I’ve read some insightful and hilarious articles on procrastination this week, from writer Rowan Pelling’s piece on Why do we procrastinate so much? to the follow-up response on the BBC website Procrastination: Readers’ epic tales of timewasting. The lengths some people go to – just to avoid doing a task they don’t want to do – are astonishing.

Problem is, I can identify with some of them – ok, not some of the more extreme tactics, but certainly the ‘oh, that bottom drawer of the fridge needs to be cleaned out urgently’, or ‘I really need to help my daughter complete that 500-piece jigsaw puzzle’. The worst, of course, is that quick flick onto a news website, just to check what’s going on in the world, only to find that more than an hour has passed and I still haven’t got beyond paragraph two of the project I was meant to be focusing on that’s now got a looming deadline.

Which is why I was curious to hear that famous authors are turning to internet-blocking software to stop them getting distracted from writing their next novel. Zadie Smith did it for her latest book, NW, according to the Daily Mail – and Nick Hornby also apparently uses similar software so he isn’t tempted to wander onto the net when he should be clocking up his word count for the day.

Some of the comments at the bottom of the Daily Mail story also made me laugh, mocking the writers for turning their internet connectivity on in the first place. But I can see the point if you’ve got publishers and readers waiting for your next work of art.

Otherwise, if writers really can’t resist the lures of the internet on their laptop, they could always return to using pen and paper. But that’s another discussion entirely…

are authors really having their last (w)rites?

I had a few minutes to spare on Sunday, and wandered into WHSmith where I lost myself in reading the blurb on the back of many of the paperbacks in the bestseller chart. It’s a while since I checked out what kind of literature is captivating the public, and it does bring out some competitiveness in me.

However, I may be rather too late to win the race to the bookshelves, if I’m to believe the bleak vision of the future of publishing painted by Ewan Morrison in his Guardian article Are books dead, and can authors survive? He gloomily predicts that “writing, as a profession, will cease to exist”, because writers will offer their work for free in a digital environment that increasingly provides free content. He argues that in the future writers “will labour under the delusion that Continue reading