The New Yorker has a blog post up about how Jonathan Lethem paid someone to completely remove the internet from his laptop so that he could write without distraction.

Support The Stranger

You should imagine my computer set-up guy’s consternation when I insisted he drag the Internet function out of the thing entirely. 'I can just hide it from you,' he said. 'No,' I told him, 'I don’t want to know it’s in there somewhere.'"

If you're looking for a way to write fiction without distraction and you don't want to lobotomize your laptop, I suggest you take a look at an Alphasmart NEO. It's a simple, under-$200 battery-powered word processing device that's tough as a Tonka truck. It auto-saves, and it holds about 200 pages. The one problem with it is that the screen only displays about eight lines of text at a time, which makes editing nearly impossible: When you're ready to edit, you have to hook it up to your computer via USB, dump the whole thing into a text document, and work on it the, um, old-fashioned way, which means you are yet again at the mercy of the internet. Still: My NEO is one of the few tech devices that has actually made my life easier. You should consider it before you Lethemize your computer.