Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Getting Unplugged: Challenge for 2014

Image credit: genialbaron / 123RF Stock Photo
by Patricia Kiyono

            During the past few weeks, we've had some nasty weather that has left many of us without power, sometimes for extended periods of time. The first time it happened, I was in the middle of writing a blog post, and was somewhat annoyed that I wasn't able to finish it. When the outage lasted for more than a few minutes, I decided to go to sleep, because there wasn't much else I could do in the dark. Fortunately, the power went back on in a little over an hour, and the sound of all the lights clicking back on awakened me from my nap. I managed to finish everything I needed to do that night, but my sleep schedule was messed up for the next several days.
            I wonder how I would manage for extended times without all these modern conveniences. I do my writing on a laptop or on my ipad, and I keep a lot of information stored on my phone. Doing without these devices would take quite an adjustment on my part. I'm so used to having my day extend halfway through the night because I can simply turn on the lights and keep going when the sun goes down. I probably get far less sleep than is recommended. Still, I probably get far less writing done than authors in times gone by, who had to not only work with sunlight and candle light and write everything out by hand. There was no delete button to take the wrong words off the page and replace them with better ones. There was no email or facebook with which to brainstorm character and plot problems with people who were not within shouting distance. There was no internet on which to do research. Yet great epics were written, books we enjoy to this day.
            I'm not advocating that we shun our devices. But I think I need to decrease my dependence on them. I need to spend time reading, or just talking with my neighbors and members of my family. Since I want the people in my books to seem real, it seems logical for me to know what real people talk about. So my promise to myself in 2014: spend more time in the real world!

            What's your promise to yourself?

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