Avoid The Internet!

It may seem counter-intuitive to post a notice of this event here in cyberspace, but we live in weird world.

So here goes:

The Westport Writers’ Workshop has announced “Writing Hours Unplugged.”  Called “a nurturing program for writers who seek a quiet space in a setting conducive to creativity, free of the distractions of the Internet,” it takes place at the Workshop (3 Sylvan Road South) most days of the week, beginning at 8 a.m.  (Check email early!)

Writers can unplug when workshops are not in session — including Sundays, the traditional day of rest.

Not a workspace the Westport Writers' Workshop wants to see.

In addition to no whirring computers or chirping cellphones, the facility offers overflowing bookshelves, bright windows and stacks of resources.  (Plus a kitchen.)

The lack of internet access includes wireless.  Westport Writers’ Workshop founder Jessica Bram says “the single greatest impediment to productive writing is the distraction provided by access to the Internet.”

Of course, there is no such thing as free non-internet access.  Writing Hours Unplugged is available only to Workshop members ($150 per year; includes program discounts and free admission to speaker events).  Memberships are available to “any writer or would-be writer in the community.”

“06880” likes the theory of unplugging, and writing in glorious, undistracted, quiet, contemplative, sylvan solitude.

But how would we know when The Dude, Jeffxs or any of our other fans readers comments on this post?

(For more information about the Westport Writers’ Workshop and Writing Hours Unplugged, click on www.westportwritersworkshop.com, or call 203-227-3250.)

8 responses to “Avoid The Internet!

  1. Isn’t there another writing workshop place in town? Is there some friendly competition going on?

  2. The Dude Abides

    Well, perhaps I am not an expert but I have been a working writer for 15 years now. I certainly agree with the premise that solitude is a writer’s best friend but I am not sure why you need to pay $150.00 a year to find it?? Late night sessions or early bird specials in your own home can create such an atmosphere. Further, there is no such animal as a “would-be” writer. I find that term discouraging to the novice writer who certainly can write. Also, I find the movement to place writers in a social setting to enhance their creativity as a mistake. Writers need to write and not talk although some form of social interaction is good to create characters. And this is why the “distraction” of the 06880 blog is so valuable for it allows a writer to write as well as reflect on what his audience is saying or thinking. You write in solitude, not a vacuum . And thus, Mr. Woog, writers should be paying you as opposed to Ms. Bram.

  3. I’m with the Dude on this issue, no offense to Jessica B whom I know and whose work I admire. I’ve been a fulltime writer since 1972 — a journalist, longtime corporate speechwriter and general purpose freelance writer — and have worked in every possible environment, from the endless cacophony of old-style newspaper city rooms and magazine offices with clacking manual typewriters and screaming colleagues as a soundtrack and clouds of cigarette smoke as an environmental hazard, to the corporate world where catastrophe was always a heartbeat away and now to a NYC apartment filled with teenagers and their angst. Quiet is good, but a vacuum is awful. But no Internet connection? Noooooooooo. I can easily recall the bad old days of the 70s when it took multiple phone calls on deadline to obtain a nugget of information. In the 80s I recall being assigned a speech at 5:30 PM for delivery to a vice chairman early the next morning. Topic: the history of the world financial system since 1945. Resources? Zero. Solution: take the elevator down to the Rizzoli bookstore in the World Financial Center’s Wintergarden and buy as many books on the subject as possible and, a little later, hopping a subway to midtown to use the NY Public Library before returning to my office after the library closed. I love the web, distractions or not. I’ve got to have it. Yacking with other writers? No, thanks, with the exception of the Dude, my old Staples ’66 classmate, online.

  4. The Dude Abides

    As an afterthought, where could you meet such a cast of characters like John Raho, Richard Stein, Jeffxs, Innocent Bystander, Gunney, Curious and my special Sensible One??? Not in any writer’s workshop or writer’s room. This is open communication at its purest and finest. And Tommy sure can write can’t he?

  5. Sensible One


    Mr. Allen certainly can write! He took me back to the early 80’s when I lived in NYC – my favorite place to go was Scribner’s on Fifth. Loved the architecture and how grand the space was.

  6. Powers's Friend

    It seems like Jessica has smartly capitalized on our lack of self-discipline.

  7. Love the discussion, and let me first say, Dude, that I totally agree that there is no such thing as a “would-be” writer. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. But I worried that by offering the space as open only to “writers” in the community, many non-published, self-effacing people would think they were excluded. Supporting and nurturing the writing vision is what the Westport Writers’ Workshop is all about.

    Let me also point out what “Writing Hours Unplugged” is NOT. We are NOT a place to socialize. We are NOT a café, although people are welcome to bring coffee or help themselves from our coffeepot. We keep the room quiet, and respect each other’s writing space which we consider sacred. This is simply a way for writers to WRITE – not to talk about writing (or anything else), not to schmooz, not to be distracted by all those avoidance games we writers play like checking email and Facebook. It’s a place to beat the solitude of writing – which I personally sometimes find deadly – by writing alongside other writers who are engaged in their own miracle of creation. (And no, Dude, that does not mean constantly checking to see what your readers think of you. That’s not writing, that’s IM’ing.) And that’s how our Writing Hours Unplugged is different from any other facility offered around town.

    Thanks for writing about us, Dan. Come and see us!

    PS I have also loved writing and the Westport Library, but have often been distracted by the conversations around me.