When was the last time you REALLY went without internet for a day?

Thank you, South Park

If you’re a regular reader, you may be wondering what in blazes happened and where the devil is yesterday’s Forum Friday? Or you may not be. But ‘what in blazes’ and ‘where the devil’ are fun expressions, and everybody should use them more often.

To answer the questions you may or may not be asking, I say this: I was offline. Not by choice, you understand: because a neighbor cut the wrong wire and with it the telephone, internet, and every channel on television but ABC.

So here I am, delayed and apologetic, but with a (belated) Forum Friday question inspired by recent events: When was the last time you REALLY went without internet for a day– and (if applicable) how did it impact your productivity?

I am thinking in terms of writing, at least for myself: yesterday I was unable to access my blog and do my regular post; to respond to messages in my inbox; to access Twitter (not that I’m a chirpy chickadee, but I was going to mention that if I get one more ‘like’ on Facebook I unlock a set of spiffy analytics); to watch John Oliver cover for Jon Stewart (fully unrelated to writing, but missed nonetheless); to reference the thesaurus or online dictionary; to back my files and progress via Dropbox.

All in all, it was good for me: I had less distractions and was able to better focus on singular tasks like revising/polishing and reading. My current read, by the way, is American Gods by Neil Gaiman and you should go pick it up right now because IT IS AMAZING.

How about you? Tell us about your experience!


24 thoughts on “When was the last time you REALLY went without internet for a day?

  1. Last time, well that would be easter when I was up in the mountains in Norway skiing. I didn’t get much writing done since I can’t write by hand for too long without my hand cramping up (old injury) but that’s not the main reason. The environment, the mountains, it does something to me. Being there make me resonate, I don’t have any other word for it. There’s something about that place. Whenever I’m in Sweden I’m not ever without an internect connection since even if the broad band goes down and the power goes out I can always connect via my cellphone since I’ve got unlimited surf. I’d have to get pretty far away from urban areas to disconnect.

    • Fredrik, that might be one of the very reasons I’ve so long resisted the smart phone! That…and they’re more expensive. Ha.

      The mountains in Norway! That must be incredible. Do you write when you are there?

  2. I’ve heard it as “what in blue blazes”. It’s hotter that way.

    I’m leaving Thursday for a pseudo-writer’s retreat where I will be offline, at least during most of the day, for a week. I’m planning to use the time fruitfully for reading actual books (on my Kobo reader), editing my manuscript, and composing my new work.

    I’m hoping I don’t have withdrawal.

    Glad you’re back.

  3. I actually love being without internet, although I can never bring myself to switch it off willingly. I didn’t have a good net connection in my early high school years and so I compensated by writing A LOT. It was exhilarating. I was either reading (a book a day for a short period) or writing, and mundane as it sounds to others, I loved it! More recently my internet hadn’t been working for a few days and I loved that as well. There was suddenly so many other things I could do!

    That said, I still love the internet. Very, very much. I can’t choose between them. Ohh, the pains of first world problems.

    Thanks for sharing this post! You’ve gotten me thinking – maybe I SHOULD switch off my internet for a few hours every day of my semester break…

    • Ahhh, I’m just the same! Why is it so hard to turn that darn off switch (and KEEP it that way)? I can do it for X-hour blocks or “until I finish ~”, but being without the internet even for so short a time made me realize how many things I use it for. I wonder if I shouldn’t get serious about making a ‘tech sabbath’ or at least an ‘internet sabbath’ a weekly thing.

      Isn’t it weird that we lose sight of how many other things there are to do? And I KNOW I would read more (maybe even write more) if I had no internet access. Thanks for your thought-provoking response!

    • Yowza! Sounds like one nasty flurry. Did it make any outstanding impact in your daily life? A week is substantial!

      Thanks for saying that about the phrases! Actually, I’m starting to appreciate ‘the devil’ as a sort of spice to add to most any phrase. E.g. “How the devil are you?” “Where the devil are my glasses?” “I thought you were making muffins. What the devil are THOSE?”

  4. Whenever we go on a trip, we usually do a mix of driving and camping so we’re offline a few days, however, when we get back in signal there is usually a period of “soothing the addiction” time – checking Facebook, my blogs, email, twitter etc. I know I’m hooked on a continual feed of information – and some days I care, and some days I just hit refresh.

  5. A few years ago I took a week off of work for an at-home and self-imposed writing retreat. I knew that to be truly productive I couldn’t have Internet access. So, I unplugged my modem and left it with a friend, who lived across town. It was absolutely wonderful. Sure there’s a little bit of withdrawal. I couldn’t wander over to Facebook during short moments of boredom. But I got a hell of a lot of writing done.

    • YES. Productivity on the writing front is the big payoff, and after reading everyone’s comments, a self-imposed sequester is looking more and more appealing! I applaud you for unplugging your modem and leaving it *across town*. Wireless masquerades as a great convenience, but is not gotten rid of quite so easily 😉

  6. I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to!

    Woohoo! Neil Gaiman! I’m reading “Stories” now and I really like it. I think “American Gods” will be my next Gaiman book.

    Let’s see.. The longest time I went without internet was twelve days, when I was on a meditative retreat in Indonesia. No speaking, vegetarian diet, no technology except for a sound system used for the discourses.

    I think we should all unplug once in a while. It’s unsurprisingly refreshing. 🙂

    • A meditative retreat? That sounds INCREDIBLE, Daniel! I think that’s a bucket-list item right there!

      I have a dreadful habit of being in the middle of too many books at once, and “Smoke and Mirrors,” an anthology of Gaiman’s, is another. Do you have a favorite short story of his? Let us know how you like American Gods! 🙂

      • I’m still discovering Gaiman in fact, I’ve only read one short story of his, which is the one included in his edited anthology, “Stories.” I like the story—and more importantly, the writer—so I’m definitely going to read much, much more of his work.

        I hope I don’t come over as a door-to-door religious solicitor, but if you’re interested, I recommend Vipassana meditation. It’s Buddhism-based, but completely nonsectarian, as there are no rituals involved, and silly conversions are neither encouraged nor discouraged, nor is it necessary. Neither is it commercial.

        I think you should definitely try it; if you like it, by all means continue, and if you don’t, no harm done. I can only say I feel the benefits of meditation every day, among others: increased focus, better anger management (sorely needed in my case), and higher productivity.

        Again, I’m not “selling” my way of life or my spiritual beliefs, I’m simply convinced that anyone could benefit from it.

        The Vipassana method taught by S. N. Goenka—whose inspiring speech I’ve posted here, if you’re interested—is good for beginners because their courses are so organized and disciplined. I myself mainly practice Anapana now, although I do try to go on a Vipassana retreat at least yearly.

        More info on dhamma.org and I think they have a center in Oregon.

        Have fun! 🙂

        • No worries, Daniel– I appreciate you sharing your experience in such detail! Meditation of any kind interests me, as you know many things do. Funny that you mention the center in Oregon…I think (at school?) we once had someone come in and talk about her practice and Buddhism (very briefly) and the Four Noble Truths. At any rate I will probably just close my eyes and go “Om” at home, at least for the time being. But thank you again for sharing– it’s definitely something worth looking into if it will impact the creative flow!

  7. I work third shift so I sometimes (once or twice a week) over look the internet in favor of sleep. Whenever I do this however, it takes me twice as long the next time I am on to wade through all the emails and assorted internet detritus that accumulates in my absence. (i.e. facebook updates, and missed blog posts) Sometimes I write without access to the internet, if I am out and about and wherever I am doesn’t have wifi, but I am spoiled. I like having answers to random questions at my finger tips. So I don’t do it very often.
    Also, I have read American Gods. It is an AMAZING book. I am glad you seem to be enjoying it. When you are done you should read Anansi’s Boys. http://www.amazon.com/Anansi-Boys-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0060515198/ref=la_B000AQ01G2_1_12_title_2_mas?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371649767&sr=1-12

    • AH yes, Anansi Boys also…I’m glad Gaiman has so many well-received books already out there! It spoils me as a reader 😉

      Good call on the ‘catch up’ that being without the internet can necessitate. I’ve tapered off facebook (perhaps for that very reason, among others), but I still have similar inbox-floods from blogging/Twitter to sort out!

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