A friend recently wrote about author Jonathan Franzen and recommended his two latest books, The Corrections and Freedom. I haven’t tried either yet, but I’m looking forward to reading them soon. They’re literary fiction, which I read less of now than I used to. Probably time to exercise my brain instead of just entertaining it.
So I did a little reading about Franzen, who sounds like a very interesting human being. There was an article in Time Magazine last August right before Freedom came out. Here’s what Lev Grossman wrote about Franzen’s writing habits:
“Franzen works in a rented office that he has stripped of all distractions. He uses a heavy, obsolete Dell laptop from which he has scoured any trace of hearts and solitaire, down to the level of the operating system. Because Franzen believes you can’t write serious fiction on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, he not only removed the Dell’s wireless card but also permanently blocked its Ethernet port. ‘What you have to do,’ he explains, ‘is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it.'”
Wow. I typically write surrounded by distractions–husband, dog, TV, telephone, Internet.
I love that Franzen goes to the lengths he does to ensure he’s not distracted or worse yet, tempted to distract himself. And that is my primary problem. It’s not other people or other demands that typically distract me. It’s me. It’s thinking, “I’ll just make a cup of tea,” or “What’s in that stack of mail?” or “Was that a rufus-sided towhee I just saw land on the feeder out of the corner of my eye?”
I’m my own worst enemy.
Q4U – What are your most challenging distractions?