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How to Turn Off the Internet While Writing on Your Computer

darkroom23.jpgThis week, GalleyCat readers debated the Internet’s detrimental effects on a writer’s ability to focus. Author Nicholas Carr summed up the problem: “improving our ability to multitask, neuroscience tells us in no uncertain terms, will never return to us the depth of understanding that comes with attentive, singleminded thought.”

For novelists and long-form writers, the problem is obvious: how do we type a draft without the multitasking distractions of the Internet? To that end, reader P. Bradley Robb has compiled a list of programs that reduce your computer to its essential function as a writing tool. His list includes entries for every kind of operating system, including the free Windows program DarkRoom (pictured)

Here’s Robb’s overall defense of these writing-simplifying programs: “Each of these programs is essentially the same song, played using different technologies. As they each strive to minimize the feature set, rather than to expand it, there are few compelling reasons to choose one over the other besides what operating system your computer currently runs on…I’ve actually found my writing habits changing. I’m now perfectly happy to let red underlines stay until I move to edit. The advantage granted to my workflow is tremendous.”

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