I spend so much time at my computer, a friend of mine jokes that when we meet in person, there should be a computer screen between us to make me more comfortable. I blog, tweet, email and Facebook my way through every day. Phone conversations are kept short, if they’re had at all and meeting in person can only happen once I’ve finished blogging, tweeting, emailing and Facebooking. It was only over Christmas that I realised how exhausting my constant online life has become. I’m always connected and while I wouldn’t change my life as a blogstress for anything, I gotta admit, it ain’t always easy. So I decided to unplug. Yup, I would go cold turkey. No social networking for a while.
Truth be told, I was going through a bit of writer’s block. I reached a point where I honestly felt I’d said everything I needed to say. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to talk about. My usual methods of twitter conversations, following links, checking online versions of mags and papers for blog ideas were yielding nothing. Could it…is it possible….did I need to step away from the computer and actually….*gasp*…get a life? Then I might possibly have something to write about? Say it ain’t so!
I am a pretty prolific tweeter, guilty of tweeting whatever mind numbing nonsense comes into my head, so switching that off was pretty hard. Admittedly, I did roam around the house for a few hours just saying things out loud and expecting people to hold up an ‘@’ sign and reply to me. It was all a bit weird.
Right, I’ve unplugged from Twitter – what do I do now? Well, how about read a book? Heck, with everything I’ve had going on, it’s been a while since I did that. I picked up a big hardback and tried to dig in. Reading sentences that are longer than 140 characters is hard. I kept having to fight the urge to check Twitter. I felt I was missing out on whatever conversation might be happening over there. Before I knew it, I was 20 pages into this book with no idea what had happened. Clearly, I tried to do too much too soon. A meaty book with an interesting plot line was too much. There was only one thing for it, I had to go with something easier – ChickLit. This was an awful moment of realisation for me. I’d been sent a tacky ChickLit book a few months ago, so I dug it out and got to reading. It was every bit as terrible as I expected, but at least I could whizz through it.
Waiting at a bus stop, being on a bus, fighting through crowds of sale shoppers, enjoying a quiet hot chocolate in your favourite cafe, wanting to share a hideous fashion faux pas you just saw – all of these things are startlingly different when not shared on a social media platform. I only had myself to share my mundane thoughts with – and I’m a pretty harsh audience, I don’t laugh as much or anything, so the whole thing was unrewarding.
However, I did start to get some ideas and all of a sudden, I could string a few words together and write them down. Offline life ain’t all that bad after all.