Writing Fiction? Turn Off All Devices!

Want to write? Turn off all devices. This is hardly an original concept, yet it is so important that it bears repeating. Turn off all devices- phones, tablets, computers (other than word processors), televisions, etc. Turn off all superficial and exterior distractions. Not for an hour. Not for several. Turn them off and put them away.

Devices are so ubiquitous that few people consider them superfluous. Perhaps they aren’t, not in general. Much of life seems to funnel through them. But if you want to write, devices are deadly. They distract, even more than realized. But even worse, they pull a person to the surface. Upwards, outwards. From within to without. Consistently, constantly. And nobody, no matter how talented, can write his or her best when continually yanked from story world to computer world.

Story world. That is where we live. Where we should live. Immersed, completely, for long stretches of time, in that world and no other. Only by existing there, by perceiving it all around, by experiencing it with all five senses in full dimensions, can the story appearing on the page even begin to convey it. This happens only when no distractions exist. (Some distractions aren’t controllable, but devices are.)

I hear so many people say, but I’ve got to be connected, I might miss something if I’m not. I call bulls*#t on that. There is absolutely no need to check texts, emails, social media multiple times per hour. Prior to such things, people got along just fine without knowing every last little thing immediately. Do this. Check whatever you need to check once in the morning after waking up, once at lunchtime, and once in the evening. That’s it. Three times a day. More than sufficient. If you can’t do that, if you keep getting drawn to your devices, then guess what? You’re addicted.

This is actually good advice for life in general, not just writing. Look up from the device screen, observe the world around you, experience the moment in the here and now. Too many people have forgotten how to do that, never understanding that the mind existing in the moment, whether in the outer world or story world, expands in so many wonderful ways. Devices prevent that potentiality. They deaden and dull.

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