The Internet is Addictive and I Found the Cure 7 Comments

The Internet is Addictive and I Found the Cure

The Internet is the enemy of writing. Many people have said it, from famous authors to upstarts like you and me. It will suck your time and distract your brain so that you will never get any non-online writing done.

On Chris Flynn’s (Torpedo editor) blog Fly the Falcon there is an interview with Garth Risk Hallberg who had this to say about the internet:

“The internet shortens and flattens my attention span, and makes me anxious on some subliminal level, and basically conditions me to desire more internet. I think Heidegger would see it, at least where I’m concerned, as a flight from death. Writing fiction does completely the opposite. It is hard, hard, hard, but afterward, I feel more deeply attuned to the world, and to the miracle that there is anything at all.

So I don’t keep a web browser on my computer. I don’t have a smart-phone. I prevent myself from being able to access the internet during my working hours. I write stuff for The Millions on a word processor, save it on a jump drive, and then post it when I’m on a computer with Internet access. I essentially behave like a recovering alcoholic. I am aware that this sounds precious, but this is what it’s like inside my head.”


Are you suffering from internet abuse/overuse?

Doing too much surfing the web and not enough anything else?

Over-checking your gmail/hotmail or too much Facebooking or Twittering or blog-perusing or Formspringing or Chatrouletteing or YouTubing, or just having too much fun with the infinite number of Flash-based online games out there like Globulos or Friv or Flow?

Totally and utterly lacking in self-control?

I used to be like you.

But then I got healed.


No, not by learning better habits.

No, I didn’t grow out of my immature interneting.

Instead, I used my enemy against itself.

I exploited the power of the internet to break the cycle, and downloaded programs which stop me using.

How’s that for irony, internet? Hmm?

Now I’m going to show you how you can do it too. Celebrate!

LeechBlock is a Firefox add-on that is “designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.” (And you can even tick an option that means you can’t go back into the program and change your settings).

Freedom is a program designed for Macs that turns off your Internet connection and you can’t turn it back on until the time you specify has run out. It is “an application that disables networking on an Apple computer for up to eight hours at a time. Freedom enforces freedom; a reboot is the only circumvention of the Freedom time limit you specify. The hassle of rebooting means you’re less likely to cheat, and you’ll enjoy enhanced productivity.”

Also, a lot of writers spend too much time staring at a computer screen. This can hurt your eyes and your brain, so here is one that will help with the eyes at least: f.lux. “f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again. Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.”

Hope you found something that might help.

  • Rosie

    I’m going to be installing some LeechBlock, methinks.

  • Raf

    Wow, all that effort you had to go to… All I had to do was move to Frankston.

    Frankston= no civilisation.
    No civilisation= no internet.

    Problem solved.

  • Cathy

    Lifesaver! Well, ATAR saver at least.
    Bleh, ATAR is the worst acronym. It’s always my year.

  • Jodie

    f.lux is da bomb. You wouldn’t believe how pretty my screen looks right now with its soft peach light.

  • Johannes Jakob

    Been using flux for a few months. It’s been really, really good, all around. Easier going to sleep after looking at the screen, easier to flip open laptop in the middle of the night to write down “amazing” idea.

  • phill

    I can personally voich for Leechblock, been using it for the last year or so. However, a word of warning: you really need to go all or nothing. I had LB enabled for most of the day, with a one-hour window between 1 and 2 so that on my lunchbreak I could check my feeds, blogs, facebook, etc.

    It was a good idea at the time, but unfortunately it kind of broke the point of it when I realised I could just change the time on Windows (or Linux in this case) to 1 o’clock and thereby circumnavigate the controls. :/

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