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Shutting out a world of digital distraction: Carl Wilkinson investigates the powerful effect of the web on the creative mind

September 9, 2012

Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Zadie Smith are among a growing group of novelists who struggle with internet-addiction. Carl Wilkinson investigates the powerful effect of the web on the creative mind.

Tucked away in the acknowledgements at the back of her new novel NW, along with the names of friends, family, editors and publishers who have helped her, Zadie Smith thanks freedom and self-control “for creating the time”.

Every writer needs the freedom to be creative and the self-control to stick with a project until completion, but Smith has something rather more 21st century in mind: Freedom © and SelfControl© are computer applications that can be downloaded and configured to increase productivity by blocking access to the internet.

These two pieces of software originated in quite different places. Freedom was developed by Fred Stutzman, visiting assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, and counts Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Naomi Klein among its users. Stutzman has also released Anti-Social, which blocks the social-media elements of the internet. SelfControl, meanwhile, was created in 2009 by American artist Steve Lambert, one of the people behind The New York Times Special Edition – a hoax copy of the paper published in November 2008.

Excerpt of an article written by Carl Wilkinson, Telegraph. Continue HERE

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