Freedom to write means responsibility

I realized a week ago that I am just as weak – and as strong – as I have been for a long time. Getting a bit more energy to function because of a fortuitous connection to an experiment with vitamin B1 (thiamine), the effort I’m making to walk properly again (to be blogged about eventually), doing a lot more posts during Web Serial Writing Month, and various interruptions from Life have been masking a fact I didn’t want to face: writing is hard work.

Me writing fiction is a delicate thing, easily destroyed, because I have CFS and because writing must have the best me I can manage, which means doing just about everything right: sleep, eating, exercise – and creating a routine which works for me and includes blocking the Internet until I’ve written as much as I can that day.

BTW – today is August 32, 2013.*

I’m starting my writing for today late. Yes, we went to 11:30 Mass – and that is late. And I didn’t get to bed last night – the chinchilla took forever to chase upstairs, and then – maybe? – I was too wound up for a while.

But I keep choosing wrong, and I’m going to face it: this is the beginning of the last third of 2013. I’ve made a commitment to myself to finish Book 1’s revision by Christmas.

Changing computers – needed for several reasons of software speed, but mostly because the fans were always on for Amy (the Macbook 1,1 that has been my constant companion since 2006), and I CAN’T work with any noise – accidentally changed a basic part of my routine and my working environment – which I didn’t change back until yesterday.

I have a few programs still to transfer manually (the Migration Assistant route didn’t work), and I had been postponing transferring or replacing two important programs. One is my Calendar (long story – I will deal with it).

The more important thing to transfer was a little $10 program called Freedom (, but also now available for Windows) which BLOCKS THE INTERNET AND MAIL.

For as long as you choose, and yes, if you’re desperate, you can restart your computer (a longish process for the old Macbook, an unknown on the new Macbook Pro) to restore your internet access.

But it makes you truly think each time the temptation to surf or check email arises. And it blocks those little notifications that pop up on your Desktop to tell you a new (exciting, rewarding, tempting) email has arrived.

For someone with almost perpetual Decision Fatigue (from CFS, which also includes lovely things like brain fog and exhaustion), this capability is necessary. I make ONE hard decision – start up Freedom for 120 minutes – and a lot of continuous tiny decisions don’t have to be made: so my brain stops asking.
And I get at least the possibility of writing new fiction. Or at least writing SOMETHING (like this post) to focus my brain on getting words out.

I stopped making excuses (I can do this on my own, I can just turn off the WiFi connection, I can close Firefox and Mail, what harm does a tiny excursion to the wonderful world web do?) and made the effort yesterday: I tracked down how to transfer Freedom (which you are allowed to freely share among computers, depending on your license).

And I did it.

And just now I made the RIGHT choice, the RESPONSIBLE choice: I turned FREEDOM ON.

I acknowledged my goals aren’t going to just happen – and that I’m okay with that.

We should all see more fiction coming out.

I’m feeling a lot more peaceful now: I can’t do it by myself – but help is right there, for the clicking.

How do you protect YOUR freedom to write?

* I have officially (ie, to myself) declared that Web Serial Writing Month is NOT over on this blog until I say it is, so September 10th will be my last date to count toward my goal (August 41st).

Copyright 2013 Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt


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