I often see tweets from an outstanding local writer on how slow she is–her average daily output being about 300 words. I suspect that those are 300 carefully chosen words resulting in fairly polished text, not 300 words blurted onto a page (or e-mail or blog, etc.). But even 300 words ill chosen are better than nothing, especially if we write them when we really don’t want to be writing. (There’s a nice guest post on Jeff Vandemeer’s blog about this.)
It helps me that my tools for personal writing (either offline or online) are very different from my workaday computer tools (the MS Office Suite, a fancy text editor, and CMS and web dev tools). When I open PageFour or my intentionally simple blog env (or my little red spiral bound notebook), I know why I’m there, I’m not distracted by the tools or thinking about other projects for which I use them and should probably check up or work on. If I’m not connected to the blog, I intentionally go offline.
Cory Doctorow has written that he drafts everything in a text editor to minimize computer-related distractions. I can’t do that easily–only because my thinking is still shaped by some visual presentation and sense of organization of the parts. But it’s worthwhile to have that separation–the virtual desk or “room of one’s own.”