What I learned during my Internet vacation

The short version is, that I think I’d like to be online a little more mindfully. Going offline made me realize I’ve gotten into the habit of reaching for the Internet not always because I wanted to read the specific things that are there or even to spend a specific length of time on general chatter, but because it’s just a thing to do in stray moments. There are many posts I still do want to read and many conversations I do want to be part of. The trick is to focus on those, and to be present online when I’m present online, and when I’m doing other things, to be just as present doing those other things. In other words, to be here on purpose, and not as a sort of default.


Other stray observations:

– Avoiding social media and self-googling meant writing a little more, but not a lot more; when a book needs thinking time, it needs thinking time. What it did mean, however, was reading print and especially fiction more.

– Avoiding social media also meant it was suddenly a lot easier to keep up with my actual email. Putting email first is probably a good idea, in general.

– There are certain sorts of thoughts and observations for which my first response has become “oh, I must share this online!” It was a useful exercise to get back to being alone with these thoughts instead, at least some of the time.

– Silly webcomics feed my soul as much or more than posts about the business and craft details of the writing life. The latter posts are often useful posts, but when I read only posts about writing and by writers, the world has a way of winding in on itself that isn’t entirely good for my particular psyche.

– I’ve realized I’m no longer willing to read posts obsessing about weight, food, or hating one’s own body. It’s not you, it’s me, etc, etc, etc … nonetheless, I’ve realized there are a lot of posts on these subjects, and I’ve started blocking them when I see them. Posts about gaining strength and endurance for their own sake, free of mention of weight or food or how anyone’s clothing fits don’t fall into this category.

– Outside of email, there’s no place online that it’s so important to be I need to be there every single day. This is doubly-true for self-googling, only I’d replace “every single day” with “more than once a week” or maybe even “more than once a month.”

– I actually missed the online world the most not when I was alone, but when I was out among large numbers of people–especially when I was at Phoenix Comicon. Chatting online has become interwoven into my in-person conversations, and so I missed checking in on the con hashtag, chatting with others about the con online while also experiencing it in person, and so on. (Speaking of which, hi, Phoenix Comicon folks who I didn’t get to talk to online sooner! I enjoyed getting to see you at the con!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *