My un-wired weekend

On Friday, I decided to unplug for the weekend. I’d been spending way too much time staring at a computer screen (or, when I wasn’t near a computer, at my smartphone), and although I was meeting my work-related commitments it seemed like my days vanished before they really got started.

I gave up most television-watching years ago to give myself time to write. But recently the Internet has easily won the prize for Biggest Time Suck. I’ll tell myself I’m just going to scan the headlines to see what’s in the newsย  . . . and the next thing I know two hours have zipped by and I’m on some obscure Wikipedia page looking up something I never even really wanted to know.

What I really wanted was time. And I decided to use the weekend to claim it. I’d take my computer offline, and I would use my phone only as (gasp!) a phone.

Withdrawal wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. On Saturday morning, I realized that getting out of bed meant I wanted two things: (1) coffee and (2) to check my email. I poured myself a generous mug of coffee while I let the idea sink in that I wasn’t going to check my email that day. Or the next. Uh-uh, forget it. Anything in my Inbox could wait until Monday.

I turned on my computer and took a minute to disconnect it from our home network. Now, I’d have to take extra steps, connecting manually, to check my email or see how my Facebook contest was doing. And then I got to work. I wrote for several hours with good concentration. I sailed past my word count goal for the day. And it was only lunchtime.

I ate lunch with my husband instead of at my desk. I took an hourlong walk. I read. I called my daughter on my phone-that’s-just-a-phone. The day grew longer, but in a good way. I had hours at my disposal–time for thinking, relaxing, reading, writing, idling. It was the kind of Saturday I used to enjoy before freelancing turned every day into a workday.

Sunday was even better. I woke up without that urgent need to check my email. Because my last freelance project had pulled me away from my current novel, I reread everything I’d written so far on Deadtown 5 to re-immerse myself in its story. Doing that can be dangerous in a rough first draft, but it gave me momentum, opening doors to new scenes and making me eager to keep writing–which I did.

During the weekend, I went online only twice. My husband, who’s visually impaired, wanted to buy something on Amazon, so I helped him do that. And I needed a recipe that I’d bookmarked but never printed out. I don’t consider those cheating, because I avoided the time suck of opening multiple windows and tabs and following endless links. Plus it didn’t seem fair to say to my husband, “You have to wait two days because I’m staying off the Internet.” (Even so, it was interesting to note that what should have been a quick five minutes of booting up, finding a product, and buying it turned into 20 minutes of sifting through reviews and comparing similar products.)

On Sunday evening, I was hearing the siren call again: “The weekend’s all but over. You surpassed your writing goals. You can just take a quick peek.” I didn’t. I enjoyed a relaxed evening with my husband.

My Internet break was so successful that I think I’m going to try it every weekend for a while. So if I’m not around on Saturday or Sunday, you’ll know I’m writing. Or reading. Or taking a walk. Or hanging out with my hubby. Or just doing whatever . . . in the honest-to-goodness, actual, real world.

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About nancyholzner


8 responses to “My un-wired weekend

  • deborahblake1

    I planned to do that too, following in your footsteps. Saturday I didn’t even come close, but Sunday I only checked the email twice (not turning on the computer until later in the day) and didn’t spend much time online at all. It was lovely, and I think I’m going to try to make Sundays an internet-free zone from now on. I’ll work up to doing both days ๐Ÿ™‚

  • MelanieL

    Good for you!!!

    I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing on the weekends. I don’t really use my cell phone for much other than a phone–and texting hubby while we’re separated–but I too find myself lost from the real world once I get online. Log on to check the weather and two hours later I’m looking at the contest gallery of cakecentral.com. Huh, how’d I get on this? *shrugs*

    It just seems like a good idea to me to start using my weekend time a little more wisely.

    • nancyholzner

      I know *exactly* how that goes, Melanie! Sometimes I’ll find myself on some site reading an article I don’t really care about and wonder, “How did I even get here?” The trail can be so convoluted I couldn’t re-create it if I tried. So it was nice to steal some time back from my biggest time-stealer for a change!

  • Diva

    Good for you! I’ll um, live vicariously through you. lol

  • darkenedpages

    Good for you! Family Time and “Me” time is very important! Helps the brain juices flow!

    I’ve just started doing that as well. Granted…mines a little different as I disconnect from the internet while I am writing. It got to the point that I would say “I need to research this”….20 minutes later I would find myself watching “Funny cat videos” on YouTube and wondering…What does this have to do with “Fundamentals of Quantum Physics”…Ok so I don’t need to research Quantum Physics but it was an example of how far off the mark I had gotten…lol.

    • nancyholzner

      I’ve been doing that during my writing time lately, too–and for exactly the reasons you state. I’m trying now to write first thing in the morning. After I’ve met my word count goal, then I’ll connect and go online. Kind of amazing how much more efficiently I work when I force myself to focus on one thing at a time.

      Btw, if you find any particularly cute cat videos, feel free to share. Just kidding! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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