Tuesday, 27 January 2015
internet is evil
when I wrote BAD TRAFFIC (my best novel) I didn't have internet at home. I went every morning to the Somali cafe round the corner and paid 50p for half an hour of internet access, and that was long enough to do all my emails and browse the news. Apart from that my life was completely internet-free.
When I was sitting at my computer, all I could do was work. My computer did not double as an infinite library of distractions, so I didn't have to constantly fight the urge to check email or look up random stuff. I wrote loads.
When my circumstances improved, and I got internet at home, I could still remember how productive and simple my life had been when I didn't have it. The internet is a Disneyland of diversions and I have little willpower.
I decided I needed a work computer that could run a word processor, do all the normal computery things, but couldn't go on the net.
But you can't buy one. Impossible. You'd have to get a typewriter.
So I got a Toshiba satellite: an undistinguished cheap laptop, but with one crucial (odd) feature - the wifi is controlled from a physical on/off switch on the side. I set it to 'off' and squirted super glue into the switch to jam it up. Ta-dah, no internet, a work machine.
But that was clunky and heavy and now, some years later, I am back working on an internet-enabled machine. Constantly battling distraction. I have Freedom, which is a simple program that will turn off your internet for a set period of time, but it just isn't the same.
This article - how the internet, merely by being available, destroys your ability to focus your attention - really chided with me.
Now I want to write another book and I'm thinking of finding another way to go back to being internet-less cause I can still just about remember how much more work I got done when it wasn't there.
So... bad internet! Bad for writers. Bad for readers. If I had my way, it would *only* be available in Somali cafes, and people would be slightly less connected and less well informed but actually able to concentrate.