Rowena outlined the benefits and how to hold a retreat for writing with a carefully structured process. I did not think much of the idea, but then realised tomorrow I am attending a half day meeting about organising the writing of a book, with a dozen other authors. It might help if we had a structured process for this activity.
Much of what Rowena advocates sounds just like common sense, such as setting time to write and removing all external distractions. The problem, of course, is that unless you organise something like a retreat, people do not actually do this.
Perhaps academic libraries should have sensory deprivation areas, where WiFi and mobile phone signals are blocked.