Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cut off from the web = Cut off from the world

My internet was gone for most of the past day or so. The withdrawal symptoms went away after about an hour, once I realized it wasn’t coming back for a while. I resigned myself to not knowing what Sigalerts there might be for my drive to Pasadena. I acknowledged I wouldn’t be able to access my email until the next day. I accepted that I couldn’t obsessively watch my Amazon, YouTube, Scribd, Goodreads, Homestead, Shelfari and LibraryThing numbers.

And I felt good about it. I was almost relieved not to have the internet to rely on. I did have to leave extra early to teach just in case, you know, there *was* a Sigalert on my drive. But otherwise it was kind of freeing. Each time I got stuck when I was writing, I couldn’t simply go to the web and look something up. I had to make it up or make a note to check at another time – and keep writing. If my brain got tired, I couldn’t perk it up by reading some inane CNN article on yet another Olympian I had never heard of. I just got up, walked around, made some tea – and kept writing.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

This morning, I did my required 2K words in an hour and a half. That’s 1.5 hours. I wasn’t busting my butt. I didn’t type my fingers to the bone. I just wrote steadily, had some coffee and breakfast –and wrote and wrote and wrote and before I knew it, my words were done. And I still had energy to write more.

I had heard people talk about the web being a massive time-suck and I kind of knew that in the back of my mind, but this was honestly the very first time I had experienced it for myself. In the past, my time away from the web was vacation time, so I wasn’t writing or doing any work. But this was different. I am smack in the middle of 2 projects and a variety of outlines and man, did I get a lot done. It’s not enough to simply turn off the web, I think. It has to really NOT BE THERE. There has to be no possibility of getting to it, if you really truly want to work.

Was I happy to get the connection back? You betcha. I tried to be good, tried to keep working as I was without the web, but my old ways soon crept back. Some things won’t change – in fact, they will probably just continue to get worse. But whenever I can, I think I’m going to shut down the internet and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Until I need to look up who that guy was who did the curling or the biathlon or the speed skating long track. Some things you just have to know.