Unplugged and Unconscious

I was without internet for a little over a week.  Normally this would have me frustrated and wondering what to do with myself, but I managed to occupy that time in other ways.  What I didn’t do very much of–which surprised me–was write.

It was the perfect scenario; an unplugged advantage to my creative process.  No promise of distraction.  Nothing to stop me from achieving my goal of 1667 words (and beyond) a day for NaNoWriMo.  But I found that without internet, I didn’t achieve my daily goal and while I had access, I managed just fine.  This was a revelation to me.  Upon reflection I realised why.

Being without internet wasn’t an opportunity for me, it was an interruption to my daily routine.  Routine was something that was working for me, and thanks to NaNoWriMo I was motivated to give it a red hot go.  I was writing in the mornings and evenings, sitting at my laptop.  Before the net went down I would check my email, look at a few blogs on writing, check the NaNoWriMo site and what my buddies were up to, then I would write.  This five to ten minute ritual was unavailable to me and using my smart phone to do it was tedious and unsatisfying.

I stopped writing in the mornings.

Writing in the evening happened after my three year old went to bed.  That process had remained unchanged.  I usually wouldn’t go online when it was my daughter’s bedtime, I’d just retreat into the study to write while Daddy read a few stories to her to send her off to sleep.  I was now trying to achieve the same word amount in half the time.  On a couple of occasions I managed, but there were two 24 hour periods which I skipped entirely.

So when writers tell you to unplug the net and shut out daily life, this is something that very few of us can afford.  My advice is this: Use whatever works best for you, but don’t lose sight of the goal.  When my net was down, I chose to distract myself with other things.  Fruitless, unproductive things, and I told myself I just needed a break.  That is a habit I don’t want to return to and I’d promised myself not to invite that attitude back into my writing life.  At least when the internet came back up I (mostly) returned to my routine.  It was surprisingly hard to claw myself back into it, and it was only an eight day hiatus.

Right now I have 49,912 words under my belt.  I need less than a hundred words to ‘win’, but the manuscript has been a largely satisfying achievement.  It surprised me with its quality–better than a lot of the stuff I’ve written in the past.  And all it took to come into existence was a daily writing ritual.

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3 thoughts on “Unplugged and Unconscious

  1. Raelene Purtill

    Hi Dee, What an interesting twist. Who would’ve thought. Just goes to show how much our computers and life on line has become our way of life and our mind set.

    Like

    1. Thanks Raelene. It’s been quite a positive and uplifting experience participating in NaNoWriMo, thanks to all the support articles via the writer pep-talks. It’s worth it to participate just for those alone, and I missed them when I couldn’t access them.

      Like

  2. Pingback: I Spent an Hour Away From the Internet | SoshiTech

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