Reaping the Rewards of Freedom


Who knew that freedom could be bought for only $10?

I did, actually. I just resisted it.

I’m talking about Mac Freedom, a program I downloaded that blocks the internet and increases my writing productivity.

I think I resisted it because I saw it as a crutch. As a sign of weakness. I thought I should (always a dangerous word) be able to ignore the lure of Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and the millions of other distractions that are literally at my fingertips all on my own. Then I would feel such guilt that I wasn’t able to do so.

So I tried a free trial of Mac Freedom and was stunned at how well it worked for me. I think “life-changing” is what I tweeted the first day.

Freedom tweet

Here’s how it works: I pick an amount of time (up to 480 minutes) that the internet will be disabled for. Once it’s set, I sit there at my computer and write until I hit my quota for the day. To start with, it’s been at least 500 words. That usually takes me about 45 minutes.

What I love about it is that it makes me focus. I found that as soon as I hit a part of my story where I was stuck or didn’t know what came next, I’d immediately click on my Firefox window. Not for any purpose like research—just for distraction from the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what came next in my story.

I’m aware that I could easily pick up my iPhone and do the same thing, but I don’t. There’s a certain sacred bubble around my allotted writing time now that I honor. I stay in the room, as Ron Carlson says.

Since I’ve started using Freedom, I have written 7493 words on my current WIP.

The best ten bucks I have spent.

Seriously. The best.

How about you? Do you use an internet blocking program? How do you stay productive and focused. Feel free to share your tips in the comments. 


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