On Wednesday we saw this article in The Guardian about Game of Thrones author George RR Martin in which he explains how he can write so much so quickly. Basically, his computer isn’t connected to the internet and he uses an old DOS (disk operatiing system) version of WordStar, which also doesn’t suggest spelling or grammar alternatives to him while he types.
First of all, who remembers WordStar?
I remember WordStar well. It was the first word processing package I ever trained on or took exams in while I was working for the Industrial Society in Birmingham, back in the day. I was Admin Officer for their IT department and had only ever used an electronic typewriter up until that point, or the very archaic data-processing system they used to have at Birmingham City Council (Engineers Department).
Yes, I had proper jobs long before I gave up the rat race. :-D
Back to the point
So, in this article, this author reckons that without the distraction of the internet and all that entails, he can quite happily bash away at his keyboard to his heart’s content.
And, well, the evidence is there to support this.
Now, I’ve long said that if I just hammered away at an old typewriter, or even scribble in a notepad, I’d get a hell of a lot more done without the distractions of the internet. I even have an old portable typewriter, although granted it’s still in the loft at the other house … I think.
However, every time I try it with just my notepad and pen, the mobile phone still distracts me.
But, would I be able to go cold turkey? And would the poet?
Not as easy as that
Unfortunately, I have a lot of work via the internet. I get work via emails. I get work via social media. I sell books via the internet. I surf job boards online.
Aside from that, Facebook was a great lifeline for me when I first left my husband and kept me in touch with lots of friends, family, colleagues, all over the globe. I still use it to keep in touch with the people who were there for me; I still use it to wish people a happy birthday; I still use it to try and support others.
Also, let’s not forget that blogging comes under social media/internet activity, and Baggins Bottom is a blog. The gig list is also a blog, and the gig list has a Facebook page too. So does the poet’s band. YouTube is the same. As is Twitter. And LinkedIn. And SoundCloud. And GoodReads. Plus ALL of those I never, ever use or even look at.
And so the poet and I are kind of agreeing that we may go cold turkey for a while. Probably just a day at first, see how we get on. Maybe just Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. And hopefully the gig list and the blog and the pages won’t suffer as a result. Or my work.
But, saying that, the poet said he’d not been on at all this morning, while I was sending an email to lovely-already-boss via the mobile phone. However, he does get FB notifications to his phone (I don’t), and he’d apparently received a Twitter message … and read it …
It can be done, though. Theoretically. We both have laptops without internet connections. And batteries are supposed to last longer when they’re just used as laptops. Or, I might just haul out the old portable typewriter. And mobile phones can have applications turned off and auto-notify deactivated, etc.
So, if we do disappear, that’s probably why. And we won’t be gone for long. Just to see if we can do it. And, if we can, perhaps we’ll both also make progress with our respective writing projects.
The blog and the gig list will still be there and updated. I’ll still surf the job boards and send and receive work by email. We just won’t have FB or Twitter or YouTube or LinkedIn or anything else constantly running in the background.
Or I won’t. Could you?
Have a great weekend.