You’ve heard of Freedom, right? Software you can pay for that shuts off your Internet for how ever many minutes of writing time you desire?
I won’t lie. When I head about it, I was more than intrigued. As I considered downloading it over the course of several days, I slipped the news of this new software into all sorts of social conversations. Other writers. Women in my running group. Strangers also waiting for their coffee beverage of choice. Everyone thought it was an excellent idea. I did too. So, why did I hesitate?
I hesitated because I have a tendency to throw money at my problems on a whim, only to face devastation when the problems don’t actually go away. The shoe organizer I bought didn’t keep me from buying too many shoes. The self-help book I bought with On-Click-Ordering didn’t cure my tendency to behave as if my boyfriend should know how I feel, what I want, without my having to tell him. I’m not any less pissed when he doesn’t read my mind.
Hours wasted checking email and browsing people’s status updates are symptoms of a larger problem. Freedom? The idea is absurd, if you think about it. Pay money to shut off Internet you pay money for because you don’t have the self control to open your browser instead of your document? And is there a program to turn off my phone? Keep my son from walking into the room even after I’ve told him I’m writing and need to concentrate? Turn the TV down in the other room? Make the rain start? Pick up the pen for me?
The larger problem?
Most of us live in environments unconducive to flow. Our society seems hell-bent against it. In our quest to avoid boredom, we have opened ourselves to a ceaseless chatter of information and stimulation. We cannot hear ourselves think.
One very concrete trick I have for inducing flow, wherever I am?
Speaking while I write and reading the words aloud after I’ve written them. There’s something about the physical act of writing combined with the sound of the words from my mouth that enables me to find that space where I am able to write despite distractions internal or external. Sure, people look at me funny when I do this in public, but who cares? I like to think the quirk just adds to my mystery.