It’s 7:53 PM. My internet got disconnected for some reason, so I decided to open my word processor and just type away. Only a couple of hours ago I had decided to visit my blogs and ended up smacking my head for having neglected them for months. I then did a little self-pep talk and made a resolve to write more actively again. Finding myself suddenly offline now seems like receiving the push I need to go and actually get working with my keyboard. I feel somehow freed; at the same time, however, my connectivity-pampered head is saying, “Something strange is going on here. Something integral to me is missing.”
I need to remind myself that there was a significant chunk of period in my life when I was able to write and read, work and play without the benefit of an “online existence.” I would not say that I was more prolific or productive then, as I honestly think I have never been a very prolific or productive person to begin with (I should dwell more on this in another post). I have always been aware, though, that something special takes place (I’m particularly talking about writing now) when I am alone with just my keyboard. Not that I believe I am able to create anything brilliant when I am offline; in fact I am not referring to any outputs or results at all, but just the “alone-ness,” the sensation of being truly just by myself, which I appreciate and feel I deprive myself of by being perpetually connected (and distracted). It makes writing for me a much happier process, a real pleasure to enjoy.
Taking another step back, I am recalling now how I spent high school and at least half of my university life without a computer to use for writing. I used a pen and a typewriter, and oh, how I always enjoyed writing then! I was not exceptional at it, but I relished putting words together on paper and constructing sentences and paragraphs to express my thoughts. Remembering how I used to write and observing myself at present, I would even go so far as guessing that the word processor has been detrimental to my development as a writer: Instead of spontaneously pouring my heart out I’m now often on auto-pilot mode, editing myself even before half of the words are out. The cut-paste and thesaurus functions? They must have successfully killed about half of all my thoughts.
So where am I going with these thoughts? Lest this post ends up a pointless, sentimental rant, I guess I would just like to establish that for me, specifically, writing is such a precious preoccupation, yet I have allowed connectivity and bad habits curtail my enjoyment of it and even my growth as a writer. If I am to be serious again in immersing myself, I need to be more cautious in protecting my writing time and environment, and there are things that I need to learn as well as things I must unlearn. I have to get real, too, of course, and recognize the benefits of writing and learning to write better in the digital age, with an online community to support me and a humongous host of resources for me to access. Still, at the end of the day, “the answer is to write,” as Richard Rhodes says. Until I re-learn to do just this I may always keep going back to being the unhappy, “erratic and spasmodic” writer.
(posted 2 seconds after I got my internet connection back)