If you are reading this, then it is pretty much a given that you love, or at least like, the internet.
As a blog writer, can I say, I love you for loving it, and thanks! Knowing that at least some people enjoy your work makes it worth doing and is a wonderful, irreplaceable encouragement.
It’s also wonderful to know that it’s not just me. Because oh my giddy aunt, I do love the interwebs!
It’s writer heaven, the online world. Where else could I find detailed instructions on how to field-strip a pistol in the middle of the night? (When I need it for book research, natch. What were you thinking?)
And blogs, twitter and the faceplace keep me in touch with my tribe. Writing is a solitary business, but thanks to the internet, it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. I have met wonderful new friends here online, both writers and non-writers and I cherish them.
But… there are only so many hours in a day.
I don’t spend a lot of time watching cat videos (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but even the ‘good’ stuff – reading blogs I love, catching up with industry-related news and mates, and research – can chew up the time that I need for other things, like deadlines.
And even if I still get my writing done, and the time I spend here is usefully spent, it still leaves me less time for doing other things. Things which I also like and which help to feed my soul and refill my well of creativity. It’s not that I can’t be refreshed online, but there are offline ways to do it – getting out in nature, catching up with friends in the flesh, playing with the dog, baking a cake or even reading a book – that are also important. (And growing non-mutant carrots. Just sayin’. )
So, I am joining some other writing friends – and anyone who would like to join us – in Offline October.
We aren’t going offline altogether. So much of our lives in conducted online these days that it would be impractical to skip it for a whole month. (And after my recent experiment with giving up blogging, I know I’d miss it too much to go away completely!)
What we’re planning is to limit ourselves to one hour of online time a day.
This limit isn’t inflexible. If you have to be online for your work, that doesn’t count. In my case, this may mean allowing some extra time for handling emails, as there are various work and voluntary tasks in my life that require me to keep on top of email. But I’m going to see if I can streamline that to 30 minutes a day (on top of my hour). And it will mean that I will need to compose my blog posts offline, as it often takes me at least an hour to do those and I need time to do banking and so on as well (and, let’s face it, I can’t get through a whole month without Twitter).
But I will use a timer and log my time and work out ways to be more efficient so I can still do the things I want to do and keep it to an hour.
Some of us are going to see if we can get people to sponsor us for a charity. I haven’t worked out if I’ll do this yet, but I figure I will at least sponsor myself, to encourage me to go the distance. It may sound a bit weird, to sponsor myself, but I figure, if I manage to do this, I will benefit. If the thought of a sponsorship helps me achieve the goal it seems only fair to spread the benefit around!
So, what do you think? Are you a super-disciplined person who never looks up from the internet and find that it’s an hour later than you thought? Or are you a bit like me, Vitamin D deficient because you never get outside? Might this be a good idea for you, too? Can you think of a charity that might benefit?
What do you say? Are you in?