Four months ago, just as I was getting into a regular rhythm of writing, my computer’s graphics card failed. When I took it to the Apple Store in Amman, I was told that although it’s covered under warranty in the rest of the world, they couldn’t repair it for free in Jordan*. So I decided to wait until I would be back in Europe.
I toyed with blogging via my phone using dictation, but couldn’t really get into it. Instead I decided to give myself a writing break, as well as some time away from technology. Here’s what I discovered:
1. I’m addicted to information. Instead of just doing everything via my phone, for the first month I decided to delete Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from there too. I figured this would give me more time to focus more on Real Life. After a couple of days I noticed that I had swapped the time I would usually be using Twitter for reading BBC News and Al Jazeera, as well as starting to restructure my Feedly account.
2. Sometimes the creative juices flow more freely when you’re not trying to think of something to write about. I found myself having several “must write” thoughts each day, that may have been stifled by feeling I should write.
3. Reading more, and broadly, is really enjoyable. I decided to take a break from Scandi Crime novels and instead focussed on things that would stimulate ideas. I read theology, history, old literature.
4. It’s easy to use technology as a comfort blanket. I endeavoured to press into the discomfort of living in a new culture. Instead of connecting regularly with far flung friends, I spent more time asking myself “who could I spend time with here?”
Even though I’m now very relieved to be back at the keyboard, I’m glad I didn’t let my first instinct – to be super frustrated – dominate the last four months.
* I was assured by the Apple Genius who served me in the UK that they were more than likely just trying to avoid extra paperwork.
(Image credit: Jake Stimpson)