At home, where he writes, he no longer has internet access. A four-month stint with wi-fi proved “deadly” for his productivity and having no access at all ensures that he is not tempted to “look at Kajagoogoo videos and old ads for Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum” on YouTube. “Writing is a deep-sea dive. You need hours just to get into it: down, down, down. If you’re called back to the surface every couple of minutes by an email, you can’t ever get back down. I have a great friend who became a Twitterer and he says he hasn’t written anything for a year.”
– Olivia Laing on Dave Eggers, The Observer
I think that I’m going to change my Year Without challenge for April. I originally decided that during April, I would try to not use credit cards. However, I’ve been trying to eliminate my debt this year (so far I’ve paid off my car, a student loan and two credit cards) and as a result, I don’t use my card at all anymore, except for gas. And let’s face it, going inside to pay for gas is pretty miserable and not at all worth the lesson.
My intent with The Year Without is to attack things I truly have a problem with, and I’m proud to say that I’ve learned that knocking out my debt is much more rewarding than making a debt in the first place. So, during April I’m going to focus on my biggest problem as of late: The Internet.
I don’t know if it’s a side-effect of not drinking or what, but lately I have been spending too much time on there. Sometimes habitually. Sometimes subconsciously. Sometimes even when I am trying hard not to. It’s gotten terrible and scary and everything is suffering: my attention span, my creativity, my free time, etc. It’s a problem that everyone seems to be facing these days, but I am choosing to attack it.*
My ultimate goal is to spend less than 30 minutes on here a day (unless I am researching for work or freelance stuff). I refuse to tell you how far away I am from that goal now. I don’t know how many times I will update you on this. (And in case you’re wondering, I’ll be typing things in a word doc before I post them here, so teeeeechnically it is less Internet, and more creative writing. Oh, and I can tweet from my phone. Yay, loopholes!)
I’ll be keeping a log of every single time I am online, and… again, I don’t know if or how I will update you on this one. I’m guessing I will just have actual things to write about, as opposed to “What I Saw Online Today.”
(The irony of everything I’ve written above is that I’ve been saving a portion of my new debt-less income for… a Macbook.)
Also, since I will have so much extra free time, I’ve also decided to work on my posture! I might even walk around with a book on my head!
March Update: At least two friends have offered to get me drunk this weekend – or even Thursday – to celebrate the end of this month. And to be honest, I don’t want to do that. The thought of beer has actually become a little unappetizing. I’m really loving this! So please don’t buy me booze! Thanks!
*I’ve been thinking about this for a couple weeks and of course, on the day I decide to declare it, D. Mike decides to do the healthy noble thing and abandon social networking completely, which I admire. This wasn’t based on his decision, but I will certainly use it as inspiration.
Also, I know a couple of my friends have been working on cutting back as well; I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions in the comment section!