Peggy Bechko: Tune In And Turn Off


by Peggy Bechko

Hey, you, writer person out there. Do you have a routine? You know, stuff you do as a matter of course? Stuff you do every day to get your writing done, polished and out there?

Don’t give me that look, and don’t give me the ‘free spirit’ route. You need a routine. One for your writing that encompasses not only the actual writing, but exercise, research, learning, maybe meditation; whatever gets you going and keeps you going. A scattered approach has rarely gotten anyone anywhere. Really. And I take the ‘rarely’ back. It doesn’t work. Period.

Develop a routine and stick to it. No cheating (well hardly any cheating – we all cheat once in a while). If you value what you do and what your goals are, establish a routine. I’m not going to tell you again.

And, while you’re giving that some thought and maybe railing at me at how wrong I am and how you can accomplish just as much with a shotgun, I’ll do whatever I want approach (hahhahahahaha) consider this at the same time.

Turn off the Internet. Yes, you heard me and I realize you’re on the internet right now reading this. But while you’re working, keeping your routine so you have a designated time block in which you plan to complete a certain task or number of words, shut down your web browser and I mean completely.

If you leave it open the temptation is always just a click away. The damn thing will chirp at you in some fashion and you’ll have an email you just have to read, or maybe a new Facebook post you have to view and comment on or a Twitter direct message to check out. If you leave access open you’re going to slip and you know what happens when you do that. In no time you get lost on the internet and hours can pass before you lift your head and say, uh,oh. Then you get all mad at yourself and berate yourself and tell yourself you’ll do better tomorrow – and then tomorrow you do it all again. Rats.

Okay, so you have a problem, most of us do. If you feel you can’t simply shut down on your own check out a few great programs out there designed to help you out.

1. Self Control – this one’s for Macs It’s a free open source application that allows you to block your own access to websites – helps a bit with the self control.

2. Stay Focused is another one – this one for Chrome browser

3. Write Or Die by Dr. Wicked is for Windows, Mac and Linux – and no I don’t get a commission and it isn’t free. About $20 last time I checked but that might be a great investment if you’re prone to time wasting.

4. Anti-Social is yet another, not free, about $15 for the software.

5. Cold Turkey Meant for ‘studying’ but it’s all the same, right – and yes this one is free.

I’d suspect there are even more if you do some searches.

Do I use any of these? No. But then, again, I turn my browser off when I’m writing. Yep, shut down city. I mention those above for those who might need a little incentive, a bit of a nudge and maybe a bit of entertainment along the way to do the same.

So get yourself a routine going and get the heck off the web while you write (unless of course you’re doing the research part and then set a timer or something so you don’t get lost in the maze). We love the web, but reality check, it’s a heckuva time-sink.

Hey, take my advice and see how much more productive you are.

Peggy Bechko is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.