By accident at first, and then by design, I was pretty much off the electronic grid this weekend. Minimal to no emails, phone calls, facebook, twitter, or general internet browsing. It started Friday night while playing board games with friends. In a momentary pause in the game, I dug out my phone and went t check my email, when the host asked why I was on my phone during the game. I took a second to think about it, and realized that I didn’t have any good reason for checking. It was reflexive.
As the weekend went along, I discovered the quiet created by being off the electronic grid was giving me a calm peace of mind that had been missing. I’m not bad mouthing the internet (I still love you internet, honest) but I got a lot of thinking done. Creative thinking, as it turned out, complete with a handful of tiny but meaningful epiphanies.
The first one: compulsively checking my email and social media keeps me distracted and puts me into a reactive frame of mind where I wait for the outside world to give me direction. On the weekend especially, email/social media can be put on pause for the majority of the time.
Second: Common wisdom says writers should read a lot. I never bought into it fully. The giant pile of plot ideas, and narrative elements that occurred to me this weekend as I chewed through a novel has now proven to me that reading the work of other authors is a very good way to fire up my own creativity. (and, BTW, reading and pondering count as work)
Third: having fun lets my brain recharge. I played about 8 hours of boardgames over the weekend (thanks mostly to my very kind wife giving me leave to be frivolous). That’s a little bit more time than I’d prefer to spend on leisure in a 24 hour span, but it did completely erase the built up stress and fatigue from a couple of busy weeks. Did I mention how much I love my wife?