Monday, March 21, 2011

Writerly Tools: Freedom

Social networking websites are going to be the fall of mankind. I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere there was a study recording how much time people spend on Facebook or Twitter. I never want to see it, but I'm sure it exists.

But really. Writers spend a lot of time on the computer and a lot of time procrastinating from writing. This makes it very easy to get distracted by the internet.

Case in point being me. I have my computer set up to use Spaces, which basically allows me to have two desktops which I can switch between. One space is for writing, and the other is for everything else. This is a great setup to keep me on task, except for the part where it's easy to switch between them.

I neurotically go check Twitter and my email at random times when writing. Sometimes twenty minutes have passed. Sometimes thirty seconds have passed. Either way, the internet sucks away productivity and when you're working under a deadline, that becomes nightmarish. Then I found Fred Stutzman's Freedom and didn't have a choice about the matter.

I know. It sounds ridiculous. But the purpose of Freedom is to make internet distractions vanish, and even though the program itself is pretty simple, it does the job well. So let me give you five reasons why Freedom is awesome:
  1. Freedom will save you from the internet
    The main selling point of Freedom is the fact that is disables your networking capabilities for a set period of time. What this really means is that it takes away the main source of distraction for writers: the internet. This is really, really great.
  2. Freedom lasts for up to eight hours
    Eight hours. That's a whole lot of freedom. I haven't tested it, but I'm pretty sure if you put your computer on standby, that time will pause and you will be forced to stick to business for eight whole hours.
  3. Freedom doesn't go away unless you reboot
    That's right. The only way to get your internet back is to either suffer the full length of time or go through the hassel of rebooting your computer. Because of this and the inherent laziness of many writers, Freedom works.
  4. Freedom is just $10
    A lot of software is really expensive, which is one of the reasons that I have so many freeware or shareware programs on my computer. Freedom, however, is a program that can not only ultimately boost your productivity, it's cheap. Writers write for hours on end--there's no way to not think this price is awesome.
  5. Freedom works on Macs and PCs
    I have a bit of a habit called reviewing Mac-only programs. This might be because my laptop is a MacBook Pro. It's made me a bit biased considering that, although I have Windows 7 on Bootcamp, I do my writing in OS X. Either way, Freedom is computer friendly for both Windows and OS X!


Brenna Braaten said...

Freedom is nice when you truly need to get rid of the internet, I completely agree. The problem I find is that I generally look things up while I'm writing, and I can't do that without the internet, which is very annoying and does end up eating my time. Other than that, good tool.

Khadija said...

Ok this sounds like the answer since I have no self control when it comes to the internet. I've completly gone cold turkey when it comes to twitter, and i never liked facebook in the first place but my e-mail? You don't want to know how many times a day i check my e-mail.

Agreed social networking will be the fall of mankind.

Great post!

Happy World Poetry Day!

Austin Wulf said...

That sounds like a fantastic program! If only I didn't need the rest of the Internet for writing work. We need a program that disables social networking sites, but leaves open productive/research sites.

Sarah Robertson said...

I like looking things up too, but sometimes research needs to be put aside when writing needs to get done. :)

But I'm actually pretty good at staying focused most of the time, so I've only been using Freedom when it's extremely necessary. You know, those times when you look at your email, close the windows, two minutes pass, and then you look at your email again. At that point, Freedom is really nice.

Sarah Robertson said...

Thanks! :) Yeah, I'm really bad about checking my email too. I have this issue that the instant I see a new message I can't really focus on anything else until I've looked at it. Freedom definitely comes in handy during those extreme lack-of-focus days.

Sarah Robertson said...

I'm not sure if you use a Mac or not, but if I remember correctly Concentrate ( bans websites. I think the perfect productivity program though would both block certain websites and lock up certain programs (ie: twitter or mail clients). If only I could code!

But yeah, I tend to do research while writing too, but I do think Freedom is at its best during those days when I'm completely unfocused.

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