Welcome to Sunday, a day that no longer is my day of rest (until the beginning of July, that is). Today is a busier day than usual because in addition to singing at the 10:30am Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica, I was also scheduled to work my box office job today as well. 10.5 hours of work, most of it sitting at a computer waiting for the phone to ring.
After spending a few hours reading a book I found on my bookshelf and surfing the net, I was getting a little bit crazy twiddling my thumbs. In a moment of random inspiration born from a desire to find a specific online reading website (which I still can’t remember), I decided to check out what’s happening at NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. During NaNoWriMo people from all over the world crack their knuckles and hunker down to write a novel during the month of November. I first heard about it from a friend in Dublin who’d done it before and it seemed like such a great idea. Alas, what with traveling throughout the month of November, I didn’t get to it last year. This year, though, even though I’m sure I’ll be ridiculously busy with school and papers and the like, I really want to give it a shot. So, to begin boosting myself, I decided to check out some pep talks on the NaNoWriMo website, to see what published authors had to say about writing a novel.
The advice? Write every day, even if you don’t feel ‘inspired.’ Don’t feel like writing? Write anyway! What you’re writing is crap? Write anyway! Want to check email and Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter? Write instead!
This last one is really tricky for me, and author Malinda Lo is on the same page (ha, pun). In her Pep Talk, she mentions a program called Freedom that locks her out of the online world, thereby forcing her to get her work done.
Wait, what? A program called Freedom that shuts you out of your internet? I had to know more, so I clicked on the hyperlink and was redirected to Freedom’s sales page which markets the program as “the best 10 dollars you’ll ever spend.” I could not believe what I was seeing. People pay $10 for a program that shuts them out of their internet for a specified amount of time because “online distractions kill […] productivity”? Why can’t people just turn off their internet for a specified amount of time?
The answer? We’re addicted. I look at my life now and I am amazed by how much time I actually spend on the internet (this very moment totally being included). If I’m not on the internet I sometimes feel a bit out of control and anxious that I’m not keeping up with what’s going on in the world. But am I really keeping up with anything important? Nope. I’m scrolling through various Buzzfeed quizzes like “What kind of junk food are you?” and endless Ryan Gosling memes. It’s nonsense, but I still do it. And when I realize just how silly life on the internet can be, I concede that Freedom is aptly named because right in this moment, life without internet would be freedom. And when I think about it further I’m not sure that just shutting off my internet manually would be enough.
That’s really eye-opening. And it’s slightly worrying. If I do not have the self-discipline to keep myself away from the internet, what else do I not have the self-discipline to keep myself away from (which may be even more dangerous)?
So, with this new-found knowledge, I make a pledge to limit my internet intake and turn that time into something useful. Maybe I’ll work with my flowers. Maybe I’ll take a walk. Maybe I’ll strum my good ol’ uke, Henry. Or maybe I’ll finally set aside that time to write just a little bit every day, completely free at last.