“Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.”

Wherein we appropriate the words of Timothy Leary for some writing advice.

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Dr. Timothy Leary: Unwitting Screenwriting Guru.

Oh, yes. The evil temptress known as the Internet! Sure, you should buckle down and get started on that scene. The one you’ve been struggling with now for a couple of days. You know the only solution is likely just slogging your way through it time after time until you get it right. So here you go, opening the file. And there it is, the vexing scene itself. And here are your hands on the keyboard, ready to go, and then…

Fingers…

Wandering…

Over…

To…

The…

Mouse.

Click!

Open Internet browser.

And suddenly, it’s two-and-a-half hours later, where you find yourself bidding on eBay for a glow-in-the-dark Michael Jackson prayer shawl or some such nonsense that you have absolutely no need for… other than to distract you from your writing.

The Internet is an incredible resource. It’s also a massive time-suck.

So in a variation of Timothy Leary’s advice from the 60s…

…here’s what you do:

Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.

Turn on: Easy enough. You turn on your computer.

Tune in: When you start to write, you tune in. Tune in the story universe. The characters. You go into the story and you stay there. That’s where you need to be, the immediacy of that experience in order to write… and write well.

How do you ensure you stay there and not succumb to the temptations of the Internet?

Drop out: You drop out. Drop out of the connectivity loop. Drop out of electronic conveyances to social media. If you have willpower, you simply resist the impulse to go there. If you don’t, then disable your wireless. Get a software program like Freedom to force you off the Internet. For however many hours of your writing session, you drop out of the information superhighway… and follow the road less traveled… just you and your words.

You just… write.

Facebook will wait for you. The DailyKos will wait for you. Twitter won’t wait for you, but writing requires some sacrifice… even refraining from tweets.

What won’t wait is the solution to that damn scene!

So if you find the lure of the Internet pulls you away from your writing, recall the spirit of Dr. Timothy Leary… align your shakras… light some incense… and embrace this mantra:

Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.

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