How to Succeed as a Writer: Be a Luddite

With the Internet, is anybody able to get writing done these days? You open that Word doc titled "my first book" but get distracted by a maddeningly ambiguous email from a friend, which quickly segues into a flurry of Facebook-stalking. Fancy literary magazine Granta asks some "highly effective" literary people how they discipline themselves. Journalist John Kampfner stays away from blogs, for instance, wondering "why people might be interested in the instant rantings or musings of a hack who hasn't left his armchair."

Novelist A.L. Kennedy doesn't "blog or Facebook." Journalist Isabel Hilton has "so far resisted Twitter." Writer Maud Newton confesses that "the very ADD impulses that enable me to blog the way I do tend to hamstring larger projects, like the novel I'm writing, the review that's coming due, the day-job work." Filmmaker John Ryle doesn't read blogs. Journalist Jonathan Derbyshire doesn't know how to use an RSS feed.

Noticing a pattern here? The habits of highly (well, relatively) successful people involve avoiding all things 2.0. You want to get work done? Well, to paraphrase an esteemed colleague: the internet is good for looking up movie times and all, but in general it should be shut down.

The Web Habits of Highly Effective People [Granta]