If you use rechargeable batteries you know they don’t last forever. They work, they run low and then you recharge them.
Writers are like that too. We can’t work non-stop without the juices running low. But if you’re like me and you spend your work life tied to a computer, email and the Internet, it’s not always easy to unplug.
But it’s worth it. And more writers are talking about it. One example is Mark Glaser, a writer, columnist and blogger who writes the MediaShift column on the PBS.org Website. Glaser, who has written for Los Angeles Times, CNET and The Industry Standard (Disclaimer: I wrote for TIS too but didn’t know Glaser), recently wrote about his quest for more time unplugged from his computer in a column called ‘Technology Sabbath’ offers one day to unplug. He writes:
…being that I am Jewish — though not very religious — I decided to shut down the computer each Friday night at sunset until Saturday at sunset, the traditional time of the Jewish Sabbath. I make exceptions when I need to get directions or check for a personal email. I still use my cell phone but try to limit it to personal calls only. While this day of technological rest can be a difficult routine, it has allowed me to stretch my time, spend more hours outside and be with people more in face-to-face settings.
And I’m not alone. The concept of a “technology sabbath” is becoming more widespread, both in religious circles and among bloggers and media people who are overwhelmed with the always-on nature of the broadband Internet and smartphones. And that overwhelming feeling is exacerbated by instant messaging, social networking and services such as Twitter, that allow us to do more informal communications electronically rather than in person.
I hadn’t consciously decided to take a tech break every week. But in the past two to three months – especially since I’ve been blogging more regularly – I’ve sought out the solace of hiking in the woods almost every weekend as an antidote to the amount of time I spend in front of a screen. Luckily for me, the woodsy trails of Portland’s Forest Park are less than 10 minutes away. There’s something incredibly regenerating about being in a place that’s the antithesis of the plugged in world. It’s like a tonic, and only takes an hour or two.
What about you? Do you unplug on a regular basis? What do you do to recharge?