What Happens When I Unplug? My Novel

distractions2
I can’t find who wrote this, but it’s true. And I’m getting better! Maybe.

They always say that when you sit down to write you need to block out all distractions, including TV, phone, internet etc. I’ve never been very good at that. Even if I put my phone on “do not disturb,” I inevitably disturb myself by constantly checking to see if I have any new messages. I kind of hate how attached I am to my phone and being in constant contact with people. The odd part is that even if I do receive a message when I’m working, I don’t necessarily respond, but I want to know if I have any. I don’t know why, but it’s a nuisance. I’ve tried leaving my phone in another room, but that annoys me. This is not one of those posts where I tell you we’re too attached to technology and don’t live in the moment. This is merely me detailing a personal struggle I have with technology.

I have no problem setting the phone down when I’m with friends or family. I have no problem abandoning it in another room when I’m off doing other stuff. But I do have a problem shutting off when I’m writing. Why? Because I want the distraction. I want something to keep me from writing because writing is difficult and painful and kind of makes me a little loopy. Yesterday, Smarty Pants and I went out for coffee and to do some work. He was studying Japanese, and I was determined to write something remotely suitable for Dissonance. Unfortunately for me, my subconscious had other plans. I spent the first 45 minutes checking my phone religiously. I was expecting an important email, at least that’s what I told myself. There was no reason that email couldn’t wait until later that night or the next day. All I did by checking for it was work myself into a tizzy of anticipation and disappointment. Worst of all, I accomplished nothing for Dissonance.

When I caught myself checking my phone for the second time in three minutes, I knew it had to stop. I turned to Smarty Pants and gestured for him to take his headphones off. I said, “I keep checking my email. I’m obsessed.”

He didn’t say anything. He simply snatched my phone away and hid it where I couldn’t see it. I thanked him and went back to work. After that, I managed to write 1300 words in a couple of hours. I made a rather sizable dent in the scene I discussed on Thursday, and left Starbucks very pleased with myself. In fact, I might even be able to finish the second draft of Dissonance in 2016 if I keep this up. What it boils down to is I have to unplug, and if that means someone physically confiscating my phone, then someone has to confiscate my phone. But I do reserve the right to check it once an hour in case of emergencies. As it so happens, I missed a call from my father yesterday. Luckily, it wasn’t an emergency.

Here’s to shutting down and getting stuff done!

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