Friday, December 19, 2008

Internet at Home. Or Not Internet at Home


For about four years I didn't have an internet connection at home. Particularly among the kind of people I tend to roll with, this is getting more and more uncommon.

I did it because the internet sucks me in. I end up on the internet, answering email, surfing websites, reading blogs, etc. Time flies, and I feel drained and I've gotten nothing done.

When I told a friend that I didn't have internet (or cable) at home, he asked incredulously "what do you do?" Well, I read, talked on the phone, and most importantly, wrote.

Writing is such a hard thing to do. I have read books on how to write, paint, do improv, and other arts, but only the writing books spend a significant amount of time describing strategies for actually getting your butt in the seat and doing it. And since most people write on the computer, the internet is a constant temptation to not write.

Sure, not having internet at home is a pain. You miss out on some last-minute social things, and it's nice to be able to look things up in the middle of a conversation.

Now I have internet. I got a housemate who really wanted it and now I don't want to give it up.

However, getting yourself offline is a great way to force productivity. I know several people who had difficult things to write (master's theses, books, etc.) and only got real progress done when they went to a coffee shop which didn't have internet. But it's getting harder and harder to find this information solitude. If you aspire to write and have trouble doing it, I recommend going somewhere where all you can do is write. Stay for two hours. You'll be surprised at how much you get done.

Eventually all of our devices, if not our brains themselves, will be internet connected. We'll have to devise strategies for productivity for dealing with it. The temptation to be entertained will be constant and difficult for some to resist.

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