Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.

Zadie Smith

This advice from English novelist and essayist, Zadie Smith, seemed apropos today, as I woke up to a house without power. Yes, March is definitely coming in like a lion, roaring with wind. As I write, it’s still gusting up to 60 miles per hour on the other side of the windows of my home office–but the electricity is back.

Still, for me, it pays to unplug while writing and rewriting and rewriting. Plugged in, it’s too easy to check my email or blog stats (yes, I admit I’m a blog stat checker), or check in with the cats in my FB feed. And every time a high school age writer in one of the (online) writing groups I belong to asks how other writers keep from being distracted, I say “unplug, unplug”…while plugged into FB. Hmm. Clearly, I need to do better.

Best to separate the writing process from the business of writing. The latter takes lots of being plugged in; the former takes very little (except for, say, a quick web search for the price of a movie ticket in 1939 for my historical novel manuscript).

What do you think? Do you write while unplugged or plugged in? Can you resist the pull of social media long enough to get into the state of flow required to write?

Other writing advice from Zadie Smith

 What’s your best writing advice?


8 thoughts on “a bit of writerly advice… for March 2, 2018

  1. Unplug is fantastic advice, and while I am not super connected, I am finding myself to be so more and more and I don’t love it. I do generally disconnect when I am writing because otherwise my brain is not fully focused on what I am trying to create or articulate. How can I immerse myself into anything when I know that “someone” is standing by waiting to chat with me? So yes, “unplug!” is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Might be a fun experiment! I can write up a blog post or work on my work-writing–articles and marketing materials–while plugged in. But I have a hard time achieving the creative focus I need to get deep into a story or novel chapter if I’m online–just too easy to open a new tab and distract myself with the real world (while I should be engaged with my fictional worlds.) Today, I’m working on obituaries for a university magazine–so I’m happily distracted by this thread of comments. Thanks for checking in!


  3. I work much better disconnected. Plus putting my phone in another room completely. Studies show smart phones drain your mental and creative energy by literally just being in the same room. Pinging you with distracting noises to demand your attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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