Just another lesson learned.
One thing had has bothered me since becoming a stay-at-home mother is my excessive internet usage and the deprivation of myself from what I consider to be life.
What have I learned in recent days? The internet is not the be-all end-all. In fact, I have known this for quite some time, but like an addict, I have been hooked, have needed my fix, just can’t stop no matter what people tell me. When I’m not on the computer, I think about it. Am I missing emails? Blog posts? Have my books arrived in this store yet? I have to make a link to my site. Have I blogged in a few days? What else can I do to market? How else can I make friends, social ties? How can I garner fans?
And this is not even including the time I may or may not spend writing.
Yes, this post was inspired by that of another written in recent days by a fellow author, and I don’t mean to piggy-back on his, but it really made me think again (not that I hadn’t already been thinking about this for the last six months).
This is a confession of my internet addiction. Or if it’s not an addiction, it’s something quite similar. I have neglected my home, my family, and myself. For this I appologize.
It all started as an excuse. I have to write. How do I write? On my computer. How do I do research? On the internet. So it started there. While I’m on the internet, why not check my email and Facebook? Now, I had better check to make sure my website is functioning properly. And then check Goodreads. Check my blog. Even though I receive emails when someone comments. Next, check to see if my books are on this site yet. Then, oh, I find a problem with this, or I should update that, so there’s two hours gone so far. Meanwhile, my child is playing quietly with her toys, but I can see her look at me thinking “Why won’t she just pay attention to me?”
This is the worst feeling. Then, a week ago, my daughter started crying whenever I picked up the laptop. That was a wake-up call.
While I spent most of my time on the internet because I “rationalized” that there was nothing else to do, I have neglected many things that could have been nurtured. For example, I have what I and others consider to be a great talent for sketching portraits. At one point, I was making money sketching for customers. Well, I got too busy for that. Talent neglected. Today, after probably ten months, I sat down and finished a portrait of Angelina Jolie that I had started:
I was also pretty good at playing guitar. Heck, I had no aspirations of being in a band or anything like that, but music is my number one inspiration in life (aside, of course, from my family). Rock, specifically, or anything that falls into that general category. I taught my little brother how to play (until he was good enough to not need me anymore) and now he has the promise to make it big one day. But I haven’t really practiced in a few years. Once every six months I get the chance to sit down with the guitar, but practice session is usually hampered by something. Going from shaking the walls of my parents’ home when I was younger to not playing at all is pretty drastic. Talent neglected.
I know that in the winter time it is only natural for people to hibernate, stay indoors, watch tv, fool around on the computer, but this is just ridiculous. When I am not on the computer, my husband is (I’ve been a bad example).
So, therein lies my dilemma.
Okay, so at the moment, I am not writing. Mainly because I am choosing not to, waiting for the critique of my book so that I can start editing. If I know the book is good, then I’ll continue on the sequel. But I am in no great hurry. In fact, I like to give my books some time to sit before I go back to do another. Look at it from another perspective.
But when I do start writing, I know I’ll just fall into the same patterns again. So I have to set boundaries for myself. But I know I won’t stick to them. I need the internet for research, email, and selling my books, so getting rid of it is not an option. Maybe a typewriter? But that opens up a whole other can of worms.
It was one thing to be online eight hours a day when I worked for someone else. I had to be online, researching flights, trips, etc. Our entire job was online. But I can’t really claim my entire job is on the computer. I am making more work for myself instead of finding things to do to occupy that time in which I claim to be so busy. Like clean the house. Play more with my kid. Sit with my husband sans computer or tv.
So, I am going to try to be on here less. I am going to set aside only the time my daughter naps in the morning for everything I have to do. If I can’t get it done, tough, I’ll have to do it the next morning (if you could see all the sticky notes on my screen already, you’d laugh). I do plan to blog at least once a week, but instead of mulling over topics while I fool around online, I am going to come on here with one to discuss, or not at all.
It’s going to be hard, but with your support, I will stop living my life vicariously through technology and actually go out and do things. The internet may be a blessing, but it can also be a damnation.