Hi, SEers. Mae here hoping everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Today, I’m rolling out a topic that’s dear to my heart—unplugging. In our technology-crazed, social media-driven, always-on-world, unplugging is a necessity. Did you know there is even a National Unplug Day in the U.S.? March 1-2 sundown to sundown has been declared the National Unplug day in 2019 for those pledging to go a full twenty-four hours device free. You can find more information on this website and even download a free tool kit with activity guides and conversation starters.
You know what that means? Unplugging has risen to such a level of difficulty, it’s now viewed as a challenge. How sad is that?
Last August, my husband and I attended a family reunion out of state. It was a fun time built around an Oktoberfest theme (my father’s side of the family is German) and while the adults were having a blast, I glanced into the sun room and saw three of the teens—brothers and cousins—sitting together, not saying a word. One was on a laptop, one a tablet, and another on his phone. One even had on headphones. That went on all afternoon. For some reason, that has really stuck in my head.
When I was a kid and got together with my cousins, we had a blast. We made our own fun. Now it seems there is a marked awkwardness with face-to-face socializing. Given the choice, many people prefer to be glued to their devices. Not just kids, but adults, too.
I think most of us are guilty. My cell phone is always with me. Even if I’m not checking it, there’s a bizarre security in the knowing the world is only a few taps away. When I step into a restaurant, I switch my phone off. Nothing is that important it won’t wait an hour. Remember the days of talking at dinner? A friend of mine recently walked out of a restaurant because her husband and two teenagers couldn’t put their cell phones down long enough to hold a discussion.
I’ve made it a practice to unplug on weekends, a habit I’ve had for years. Now, Fridays are starting to creep into that stretch as I utilize the day for writing. I read an article recently about consumption vs. creation, the gist being you can’t create—the next scene in your WIP, a character sketch for your new novel, even a daydream—if you’re online consuming content. Creation comes with reflection, pouring the inside out, rather than taking the outside in.
As writers, it’s easy to become entangled in an online web. We need to be there. But we also need time to recharge. To slow down, give our wired minds a break, and embrace the softer side of creativity. Daydreaming, imagining shapes in the clouds, painting settings and worlds in our minds. Indulge. You know you want to. 😀
It takes twenty-one days to form a habit. Even if it’s only x-hours on a particular day, the more you reserve that time as device-free, the more you’ll become adjusted. In twenty-one days you’ll have created a habit.
So let’s hear it—do you unplug? Do you wish you could do it more often? How do you balance time away from your online tasks with time for yourself and your family?
Are you planning to unplug on March 1-2 when many people across the U.S. will attempt to go twenty-fur hours without glancing at a single device.
Let’s get some discussion going. Ready, set, go!