Breaking Technology

Breaking Technology

Here’s a surprise – I am not about to tell you all about the times I’ve broken my laptop, or the way that my camera considers me the devil incarnate and therefore refuses to work on moral grounds, or the fact that the data counter on my phone stopped counting for four days leading me to almost go over my limit, even though all of these are topics on which I am quite the authority.

I am going to talk, instead, about why I haven’t written so many blog posts this week.

I decided on Sunday evening that technology was stressing me out, not just because it rarely works when I am operating it, but because with Facebook or a mobile, you’re always there. You’re always available, and people know that if they call you, they’ll be able to speak to you. If they send you an email, you’ll reply within a day or two. Unless you’re a literary agent, you can’t get away with unread messages in your inbox.

So, I decided to take a break. The rules were simple – no technology for three days, with a couple of exceptions. My watch was one, for obvious reasons. I also decided that my MP3 player was necessary to help me sleep due to the noisy radiator in my room. Finally, I was allowed to check my phone in some situations. For example, I have a string group on Monday evenings and last minute cancellations are quite common.

It didn’t go brilliantly, as I was required to use my school email account on the Monday to make some arrangements with my head of year. I did notice the absence of my laptop in the evening, though – suddenly I had so much time! I used it to finish some Sherlock Holmes stories I was reading, get some work done, and write (by hand).

Tuesday went even worse, as my temperamental MP3 player, Neil, decided to break again, and I was required to reboot the firmware. You don’t need to know what that means, technophobes – suffice it to say that it requires a computer, and of course I couldn’t resist checking my emails!

While it was ‘working’ I took the opportunity to type up everything I’d written on paper in those two days, about 4000 words in all. Many thanks to those who asked.

By Wednesday, I’d basically given up. I took my usual lunch time blogging time off my list and got some paper-based homework done, before briefly checking emails, but in the evening I’m afraid to say I rather reverted to my old ways. Admittedly, I had a piece of music to finish working on, but did I really need that much time on Tumblr, redoing my profile and changing my url? (you can now find me here)

The honest answer is probably not.

I learned several things from this not entirely failed technology ban. The first was that if you don’t use a computer in the evening, you have much more time to do other things, like read books.

The second was that writing on paper can be a rewarding experience. I write double spaced on narrow ruled A4 paper when writing fiction longhand, and it’s much more satisfying to see twenty pages than a few thousand words, isn’t it?

The third was that, these days, there’s so much emphasis on technology as a way of communicating that just turning off your phone for two days or not checking emails can mean you miss thing’s

At the time they seem ever so important, but when you go back to clean out your inbox… It wasn’t that worthwhile, was it?

And just think – while you were having those ever-so-important email conversations, you could have been reading The Case-book Of Sherlock Holmes and enjoying a relaxed cup of hot chocolate.

How about it, next time the world demands your time? Say no, and take a break. If they’re still there when you get back, it’s important enough to deal with it. If it’s not, then I’m sure you got a lot more out of whatever else you were doing, don’t you?

5 thoughts on “Breaking Technology

  1. Haha, so true. If I wasn’t bound by the size of my schoolwork to use my laptop so much, I’d probably have read so many more of the books I need to finish by the summer. If only the school didn’t rely on emails so much for sending us information xP

    Good news is that, once you get started, you can usually ignore distractions and keep reading. At least, I can … unless the book is “Absalom! Absalom!” by William Falkner xP

  2. Thanks to constant power-cuts I lose many hours daily without access. It’s a nightmare catching up afterwards.

    But I’m more intrigued by how you get a relaxed cup of hot chocolate. Not sure if it’s the cup or the beverage that is relaxed, but either way it sounds cool. :-)

    1. A relaxed cup of hot chocolate is a cup that you make slowly, drink slowly, without constantly looking at the clock. A non-relaxed cup is one you dash down, like my tea in the mornings before school.

  3. I miss writing first drafts by hand. I think I ought to do one next NaNo even if it makes validation hard. This weekend we’re going to my Dad’s so I pakced up my netbook first thing… then went, of, well guess I wont’ be doing any writing in the morning…

    Still, occasionally ignoring technology (I’ve been known to ignore e-mails for days, just because, and yes I know I owe you my review of Watching) isn’t a bad thing. Something my hubby and I could do beter at, esepcially on weekends when we ought to be playing with the kids.

    We did do a 150 peice puzzle together! it was fun/frustrating. (someday I really do suffer form only child syndrome… *sigh*)

    :} Cathryn

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