The Writer’s Fight Against Technology

By Tony LaScala · April 5, 2012

Beep Boop Beep,

(I think that’s how R2-D2 says hello)

I’m my own worst enemy. Balancing laziness and getting rid of distractions is the true Antagonist of all writers. The modern age is making writing consistently more and more difficult. I can watch almost any movie on a whim streamed directly to my T.V. If I still indulged in video games, I’d practically be a vegetable. Fortunately, I’ve been writing a lot lately. My DVR is full with several months of shows I regularly watch…

OMFG the kitten in this video is so hilariously adorable…B-T-Dubs, I have adult Attention Deficit Disorder (Apparently 115% percent of men between the ages of two and one-hundred twelve are afflicted with it.)

According to a scientific article my father read, (which I have no time or patience to read and confirm it’s validity) a writer needs twenty minutes of uninterrupted concentration before he or she can begin writing deeper material. Translation: I need to sit still with no iPhone or T.V. and think for twenty minutes before I can even begin to get anything done.


How is that possible nowadays? Everything beeps, buzzes, lights up, vibrates, and plays music every other second. My wife (that’s still weird to write) is constantly asking me questions mid-scene. I HAVE NO IDEA how Odd-Jobbers with children write ANYTHING. I suppose if you were lucky enough to have an office away from it all, you’d have a smidgen of a shot at it. I don’t think Charles Dickens could have found the time to write Oliver Twist if he had three children begging him to make Macaroni & Cheez. Would Alexandre Dumas become one of the most prolific writers in history if 1840’s Paris had a 3-D Cineplex?

Do you ever wonder why you get some of your best ideas while using the bathroom, taking a shower, or just before bed? Because it’s just you and your head! At some point those wretched techies will figure out how to make our dreams entertainment and advertisement time as well.

Odd-Jobbers, I guess we need to embrace the era we write in. Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien all did. For better or for worse technology’s not going away. Our phones and media screens are getting bigger, faster, more awesomely distracting.

They have it out for you.

They want your attention badly.

They are your Antagonist.

The old cliché goes: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. The Internet is not just for watching hilarious videos of drunken guys getting injured. We have a whole wealth of information just a click away.

Chances are you own a Smartphone with a digital notepad. The little handy dandy notepad is a lot more organized than my old method of thumbtacking stacks of tiny paper notes on my corkboard. If you have an old timey cell phone, you can always text notes to yourself.

I can rarely watch movies or T.V. solely for entertainment purposes anymore. I’m usually passionately taking notes on major plot points, timing scene beats, or trying to figure out a character arc. At least then I can chalk up my Sunday afternoon double feature indulgence to “research”.

We shouldn’t just get lost in our iTunes account. Download some music and let it be the soundtrack to your writing. Classical music can really set the tone for some intriguing dramatic scenes. There’s nothing like a good polka to set the mood for your road-trip comedy. FYI if your music choice has someone angrily shouting at you, it’s probably too distracting (But hey, whatever works).

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure nobody has ever finished a marketable screenplay while staring at a screen with moving images. The stories come to me whenever I turn my electronic crap off, find a quiet place, and breathe. We all must resist the urge of Angry Birds and YouTube.The shows on my DVR aren’t going anywhere, and frankly there’s nothing more satisfying than curling up on my couch with a good bottle of red wine (white wine sucks) and watching them all in one glorious rainy weekend.


Zoop, Roo-Oot,

(Good Morrow in Droid-Speak)


Tony LaScala