I did something that took a little, teeny bit of courage this week. Or, at least, fortitude. Resolve, perhaps?

I paid for and downloaded a program called “Freedom” that disables Internet access for those folks (me!) lacking the self-discipline to stay away from web surfing or email when they’re supposed to be working.

The program is aptly named. I can’t tell you how free I felt when I told the program on Monday to disconnect me for four hours. I’d been getting inklings that email was holding me prisoner (yeah, yeah, I know I had to volunteer to let it hold me prisoner, so never mind that), but I hadn’t realized how trapped I felt until I got away from it. Knowing I couldn’t get to it, I didn’t even miss it. Much.

Working four hours straight, with no interruptions to peek at emails piling up in my inbox, I accomplished massive revisions on my third mall cop mystery, as yet untitled. (Well, I’ve got a working title, but I don’t like it.) I felt focused and creative.

I’ve used it every day since then and actually look forward to sitting down to write, knowing the writing is all I have to think about. I may sound facetious, but I’ve felt for several months as if I were drowning out my creative voice by letting in the din from Facebook, Twitter, email, and the like. Those things have their place, but I’m hugely relieved that I’ve found a way of creating a quiet space that lets me hear that still, small voice that wells up from my creative center.

How do you protect and encourage that voice within?


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