Freedom to Write

Since I wrote about a free time-management workshop here, I'll pass on something new I found on Jennifer Bertram's blog. It's a free program that will disable your internet for the time you specify, so you can use your computer for a novel new activity: writing!

I wrote my first novel on a laptop that had no internet. It was not surprising that I experienced many 3K days on that laptop. I couldn't periodically check email, Facebook, writing blogs or any of the other time-suckers. The only thing I could check was how many words I wrote. And write I did.

Since I've been writing on my main computer (with an internet connection), I've found that my self-discipline is not what I thought it was. Sure, I can unplug my modem, but the minute I get an itch to do a little research, or just get stuck, I plug back in.

Enter Freedom. It's a Mac-based program (entirely free), that allows you to freeze your internet for up to eight hours at a time. If you absolutely have to get back on before your time is up, you'll have to reboot your computer.

I downloaded the program and gave it a try. Right away, my open internet pages froze, though they'll start back up for me in an hour. Freedom gives you the option of connecting to local internet networks, so if you're a journalist doing local research, you can still use it to keep you focused.

I've done a little research to see if there's an equivalent program for PCs, but I haven't found anything yet. If you know of something, leave a comment, and I'll add it to the post.

How do you keep yourself from the distractions of the internet?


  1. Thanks, Angela. You do have a Mac, don't you?

  2. Yup! I'm looking into this again today. I DO love things that prevent me from being distracted, as I do get distracted easily. :)

  3. I gave it a try, and it really worked. I kept checking to see if the internet was "back on", but somehow it seemed so much longer (like a "watched pot never boils"!).

  4. I write long-hand in a notebook. Of course, that becomes a time-waster in a sense, because I then have to type my chapters into Word. I try to do some minor tweaking as I type--smooth out the flow, get rid of repetitive words, add if the inspiration strikes me.

    Unfortunately, I don't own a Mac, so I guess I'll have to keep doing things the old-fashioned way.

  5. I think I'm more productive when I write long-hand. Somehow my creative juices flow better through a pen than a keyboard. But I AM addicted to knowing how may words I've written in a day, so I'm quick to type in what I've written.

    I'll keep my eyes open for a program that does this for PCs.

    Happy writing!

  6. I just downloaded it for the PC. :-)

  7. Hi Heidi-
    Does it work for your PC? If so, I should edit the post to reflect that.

    In case you're interested in a couple other posts on organizing your time, click on the label "time management" on the right.

    Hope it works well for you--I'd love to hear what you think.

  8. Makes me a little bit nervous...which is precisely why I need to try it. I often work in 30-minute bursts, so I guess I could start by freezing my email for just a short period of time.

  9. It's amazing how often I get the urge to 'just check something'. Then an hour has passed! And you can unfreeze it if you need to. It's nice for me to have a boundary, to remind me that I'm getting off track.




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