Sunday, January 9, 2011

Writing in the Age of Distraction

Let's say you woke up one day and decided you no longer wanted to participate in the Age of Distraction... could you just drop out?
--Leo Babuata, Focus

For most of us, the answer to Leo's question is no. Sadly.

It's too hard to drop out. It's too hard to stop checking email. It's too much of a challenge to avoid the TV or ignore a ringing mobile phone.

We have too many things going on, and it leaves us with no spare time for creative work.

There's a certain depressing circularity to that statement, isn't there? But what it really means is most people simply refuse to take power into their own hands and order their lives around their creative work. They instead let the world and its distractions order their lives for them.

What does this mean for those of us who will resist the Age of Distraction?

I believe it means we must be ruthless about shielding our lives from whatever diverts us from our creative purpose. It doesn't mean we have to drop out of the modern world entirely, but it does mean that we need to protect the vast majority of our day from the various noises of the current era.

Our writing careers depend on it.