The May 1936 Project: Death to Distractions


I almost titled this post “A half-assed Time Travel experiment.” The short form of what I’m looking at doing during May is a way to avoid distractions. It’s much too easy for me to get distracted by movies and TV shows and even email. I find myself justifying it all as “research” or, well, really, research covers it all. I’ve also been doing tons of thinking about publishing and figuring out projects to deal with major problems like discoverability.

What I’m going to do during the month of May is avoid those distractions with which folks didn’t have to contend in 1936. Think of it as going on a paleo-media diet. No TV. If I watch a movie, I’ll go to a theatre to do it. I’ll continue to use the iPad to read news stories, but that’s just because it’s the same as reading a newspaper (without getting ink on my fingers). I’ll treat email the way correspondence used to be treated back then.

And I’m calling it a “project” because, if I didn’t, it would just be plain silly.

No, I’ll not go back to a typewriter. I don’t have one. But I will be sitting down to write more. Too much thinking and not enough writing will ruin a writer. (I think that’s like combat troops having to do garrison or policing duties—just takes the edge off.) Entertainment will be the aforementioned movie, dancing and, gosh, maybe actually gaming with real, live people!

I’m sure I don’t have the whole thing figured out (and you can offer suggestions in comments). I’ll keep folks in the loop via this blog (which is really just an electronic diary, or a chat down at the coffee shop). And I’ll still keep going to Starbucks, but none of those fancy drinks. Just regular coffee. Have to draw the line somewhere.

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4 Responses to “The May 1936 Project: Death to Distractions”

  1. Sounds like the same problem I’m having! Maybe I need to do the same thing. I’m thinking I should get one of those Internet blockers, or maybe just unplug the computer altogether.

  2. Good luck! I think this project will be a great success for you. Like you said, too many distractions can be death to a writer and creativity. Great idea.

  3. Maybe we need #May1936project to spread the word. 🙂

  4. I have the same problem sometimes, Mike. I don’t know what your space or schedule is like, but I find that I do best when I put myself in a place that doesn’t allow me to waste time, as early in the day as possible. The local community college library is perfect; good, private desk space, quiet, and no wifi (that I can access, anyway). Once I’m there, I have nothing to do but work.