A Week Without Internet
Sitting down today I thought I knew what I was going to write – a how to nurture and maintain a sense of creative headspace, as promised last week. That was demolished when a call came through from my partner to say our car is cactus, with repairs in the four figures. Bye-bye creative headspace.
So I offer you this question: Would you be able to live without the internet/your online life for an entire week? (That includes smart phones with internet connectivity!)
Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way (published back in 1994) has this to say:
For Artists words are like tiny tranquilisers. We have a daily quota of media chat that we swallow up. Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we feel, yes, fried. It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well. Without distractions, we are once again thrust in the sensory world.
Substitute ‘words’ for ‘information’ and it’s a bingo hit for me and many other creative individuals today. The internet is my biggest distraction, the largest contributor to my mental and creative clutter and a huge time suck to boot … and I’ve never even played Farmville on Facebook nor do I wish to!
I’m currently wrestling with the idea of a week without internet and wondering how it could possibly work with a new anthology project ready to start on the 14th February, which includes a brand-spanking-new opening story.
Three years ago I did an entire week without internet or reading of any type. I also did no television and text messaging. It was the biggest release and relief. I had forgotten what a quiet headspace actually was.. and appalled how bad it had got without me even realising. The cumulative effect numbs you to the damage being done. The chance to get away from it… profound.
Right now, I know I need the time away. I need to detox, declutter and recharge ready for a new year. The three days over Christmas was a good start, but I require longer. There are so many reasons to say no to such a crazy idea, or ‘I can’t’ – the addiction is pretty well enshrined and legitimised by running an online business.
For the time being I’m making two major adjustments to my online work life.
Firstly the computer goes off at 8:30pm – no ifs, no buts. This is a huge inconvenience given the time difference between Brisbane and London at the moment is nine hours and the time between 8:30pm and 12:00am is peak contact time for me with this region of the world. At night, instead of medicating myself with the net, I’ve been reading more, doing some sewing and going to bed earlier, thus getting more sleep – all good for me!
Secondly I’ve been taking an entire day away from the computer- normally Saturday. The days I have no internet contact I’m calmer and more focused. I’m slower to anger when I’m interrupted and less annoyed when I am. I spend time outdoors and going on adventures with my family. I feel like I’m leaving my fish bowl. I’d be kidding myself it I said there was no difference.
As a self employed person it is easy to work seven days a week, so one day away from the computer serves as a mandatory day off – and we all deserve one of those.
While I may and I may not take a week off before my creative New Year kicks off, I feel like I’m mitigating the worst effects of the internet by moderating my intake and learning to live with the boundaries and inconveniences inherent in it. Life wasn’t meant to be easy and it was certainly never intended to be one-click-away-instantaneous-24-7.
Internet, friend or foe?