What would Ian Fleming have said about MacFreedom?

A popular misconception about novelists is they only require a desk with a typewriter, bottle of whisky, and two packs of cigarettes to plough their furrow in the middle of the night.  My view is that the process of writing is similar to the daily maintenance we all need for good mental health.

I am currently on the Greek island of Patmos. I’m extremely fortunate to spend four months a year here writing books. Having a routine is essential to survival. I get up at 7.45, go and swim in the sea for 20 minutes, come back take a shower, feed the cats and have breakfast. Actually I can be quite grumpy and feed the cats after I’ve had my porridge. There are seven of them! Anyway the key is to be at my desk to kick off writing at 9.30 am where I stay – other than two coffee breaks until 2.00pm when a bell in my head rings to say School’s Out! Alice Cooper feels like a long time ago but what a great record. I digress and therein lies the point. We are currently living in a time where you cannot walk down the street, open the fridge, switch on the radio or overhear someone on the next door surfboard talking about MINDFULNESS. My goodness, when we decide something’s good in our society, everyone –especially the media – swarm all over it and talk about it as if it’s a miraculous invention. M xxxfullness is really important but hello, meditation and trying to stay in the moment, live one day at a time are nothing new. Ask the Dalai Lama. Yet this concept is a highly important component of a series of actions we need to do to take in order to stay sane. Remember folks it is an insane world.

Back to the writing and to the title of this blog. One of the major problems facing writers and most humans is to keep away from the internet when trying to work. It’s far too easy and tempting as a writer to kid yourself that the small detail about David Beckham’s birthplace really does need checking on Google. And then hey presto, you might as well find out about the World Cup  football results, the latest news of Iraq and whether Ted, Angelina or Fred has e mailed you or not. Twenty five minutes later, the game is over because your focus and concentration is lost. Hold on though because Help is at hand!

freedomFor an annual fee of $20 or thereabouts you can download a programme called MacFreedom that is going to change your life. With two clicks on your mouse, you can choose how many hours you want to be away from the net. Purrfect for a routine of four or five hours Internet free writing every day. Once selected there is NO GETTING ON to any part of the net until the time has expired. So providing you have switched off any other devices, such as mobiles or I Pads and hidden them beneath a heavy concrete slab, you are in with a chance of reaching your daily target. Calling all student and teachers: Maybe this could work for people revising exams or other folks having to mark essays or write PhD’s?

Sometimes I wish I could close all the metaphorical ‘open’ applications in my head too. A busy chattering head is not conducive to writing or most things. Maybe that is where actually practicing mindfulness comes in. We need to silence our heads for a while. Perhaps I could have a word with the bright man who invented Freedome and ask him to develop one for the human brain. Ah…the joy of being switched off for a while! Ian Fleming would have possibly arranged for Bond to be given some sympathy from Miss Moneypenny or more likely something from the gadget man Q. But in real life, especially as he lived in Jamaica way before the Internet existed, Ian Fleming probably would have found freedom from his head by taking himself down to the beach to listen to the waves and the sea.