I just came back from ten days of travel. Due to the circumstances of the trip, I was unplugged from the internet for those ten days–no web surfing, no emails, no blogs. I still had my cell phone, but only did texts or calls during a certain designated time period in the afternoon.
I was curious to see if I would notice anything different about how my mind worked, and how I would view my internet usage when I got back. Was my usage having an impact on my creativity and ability to focus?
Very quickly, I found I didn’t miss the internet at all. In fact it felt like a burden had been dumped off my back–I didn’t have to worry about getting back to emails, I blew off my blog, I didn’t waste time web surfing. Instead I was out and about each day seeing places, meeting people, and reading books to relax in the evenings.
Two effects were noticeable within a few days–1) I found I could quickly plow through novels again (and so raced through Jane Austen’s EMMA and John D. MacDonald’s DRESS HER IN INDIGO), and 2) I found myself getting braincramps from all the story ideas that kept coming up due to the travel itself.
Travel can be a great way to get ideas for stories: museums, historical places, cultural landmarks, art spots, local restaurants, national and state parks, long walks down the street, people sitting around chatting in hotels….
Keep a pen and notepad around during the trip. Make an effort to see the places and people that make a location “different” from everywhere else. By doing so, I’ve now got more ideas than I can deal with, even if I write non-stop for the next five years.
Going forward, I’ll be posting on Wednesdays. I’ll also be cutting back my email and web time, limiting it to evenings after a full day of work and writing. So there’ll be a noticeable lag time in moderating comments.