Jeff VanderMeer writes about unplugging from the net to concentrate on his new novel, and the Los Angeles Times picks up on it. Jeff has his wife, Ann, hide his router and cellphone so he can’t go online.

The internet in its many forms is, for me, a harmful and insidious enemy of novel creation. A novel takes a great deal of uninterrupted thought, not to mention uninterrupted writing. A novel in gestation does not brook interference of this kind. This isn’t just a matter of procrastination or time-wasting. It directly affects quality and depth in my opinion. The sustained effort required by a novel should not include multi-tasking on other things, if you have the option.

Ten years ago this is not something I, or anyone else, would have had to worry about. In fact, I remember writing parts of one novel in an apartment that didn’t even have electricity. Or, heck, any furniture to speak of. I got up around dawn, went to my day job, and then came back and wrote until it got dark. Sometimes I’d go to a coffee shop so I could write longer.

Jeff’s both an excellent novelist and a blogger extraordinaire. I understand his need to take severe measures to protect his fiction-writing. I should take his advice, I think. And, while I’m sitting here nodding along with everything he says, I’m also thinking: You blogged for Jeff during his hiatus. Now log off, get back in the bunker, and start revising your own novel.

Yes, ma’am. Signing off.

8 responses to “Unplugging

  1. When I recently rearranged my studio apartment into functional areas (i.e, a dedicated office space for writing), I discovered that the only way to watch TV was sitting on the sofa. No more writing, browsing on the internet, and watching TV at the same time. Browsing the internet while writing seem to disappeared on its own. I’m getting more stuff done these days (except for the dirty dishes).

    On the flip side, between writing new material at lunch and editing old material at night, writing is starting to be a grind. Maybe I need to wash dishes instead? 😛

  2. Looks around…Has she gone? Meg has left the building?

    Considers hijacking the blog for my own neffar…niffuri…nefferr… evil purposes.

  3. *watches from shadows, waiting for thymebandit to enter so she can spring the trap…*

  4. At last, DJ! It’s all mine, I tell you, MINE!

    *hears strange rustling sound in the shadows*

  5. Somewhere in the seething underbelly of the dirty city, Meg hid in her office closet behind the used prom dresses and glittery boas, waiting for thymebandit to make his neffar…niffuri…nefferr… evil move.

    It was dark among the frilly clothing– coal mine dark, except for the glow from the tip of her menthol cigarette, flaring and fading as she sucked in the poisonous fumes. A canary lay stunned in the heel of a black silk pump. But she paid it no nevermind.

    The minty smoke curled slowly up her left nostril and she sneezed a snotball the size of Al Capone onto the slats of the closet door.

    She drew the back of her hand slowly across her face and smeared the blood red lipstick she was wearing up into her hairline and onto the brim of her velvet Fedora.

    The muscles in her long, sleek gams began to clench with a hot throb and she realized she was on fire. Fire spelled trouble for this dame.

    Leaping from the closet like a deer on crack, she came face to face with djpaterson who was standing by the smudged window, reading her upcoming manuscript with the aid of the periodic flashing neon light advertising the shady bail bondsman across the vomit-caked alley below.

    He needed to take down the number.

    Annnnddddd, scene.

  6. What a life I lead in the comments.

  7. There’s a million and one stories out there in the naked city, dollface. 😉

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