Sep. 17th, 2013

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For 9 days, between Saturday 7th and Sunday 15th, I didn't check my emails, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Tumblr or the other many social networks I use regularly. I also didn't mean to use the internet but I had to break this a few times to look up info: did the Lowry Exhibition at Tate Britain come with an audio tour? Where exactly did the country walk from Hassocks to Lewes start? Were we on the right path in Richmond Park? How much money did I have left in my account? Where exactly was that store in Brighton that sold 2nd hand postcards?

Sounds banal to say it but when you're not busy scrolling through your mobile phone you start to notice life around you. Like the amount of homeless and drunks in the Eastend. The amount of people walking while texting. The amount of people driving while texting.

I turned off roamer on my mobile phone so I wouldn't get push notifications (temptations.) I'd catch myself during the first weekend wanting to check something, or thinking up a tweet/LJ post/Facebook update. I started sleeping for longer periods, with less interruptions. I wrote more in my journal. I read more. Ideas for short stories and novels flooded in. My decision to never do NaNoWriMo again wavered.

Bliss: no idea what was going on with my family nor with my work. Days stretched away - a week felt like two weeks. I began to dread having to check my emails again - in fact, by this last Sunday I had terrible insomnia/anxiety. Woke up exhausted and compulsively went through all my notifications, updates and emails (mostly junk.)

A lot of my physical problems can be traced back to the internet: insomnia, r.s.i, bad posture. I personally don't think we as human beings were meant to be digitally connected 24/7. A few hours a day - maybe OK. More than that? Not good. Social networks are the processed cheese of the 21st century. And Zadie Smith was right about the internet being terrible for writers. Some writers.

The internet is my alcohol and it doesn't help that I work in a distillery. But I need to keep taking these breaks, so I'm going to try Friday night to Monday morning from now on. Save the weekends for non-digital stuff. Follow Henry Miller's suggestion that you should always finish what you started.

Yesterday, I joined LinkedIn.

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