Firstly, I’d like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year!
I’ve just returned from a lovely week in a Greek hamlet where the nearest internet connection was a cafe a ten minute drive away. It was very odd. Being too cheap to pay for data roaming, I checked my emails and social media once in 9 days, which was refreshing. And this got me thinking of the benefits of going ‘off-grid’, even for a day:
Relaxation – It took a while, but eventually my brain stopped worrying about the latest news, posts on social media, book reviews I was missing etc. I read books without knowing whether there were sequels or whether others shared my views. And my mind wandered into all sorts of new territory. Given enough space, I realised, the mind inspires itself.
Lack of knowledge – “How old is Arsene Wenger?” asked my brother. We all looked at our phones and realised the answer was not available at our fingertips. So we made it up and started debating. Sure, it’s not the most intellectual of conversations, but it’s an example of how easy it is to kick-start those imagination brain cells. Ask yourself a question you don’t know the answer to and off you go – inspiration on a plate.
Setting – In a week, I saw mountains, sea, olive groves, sunshine, and snow. And I didn’t actually go more than a few hundred feet from my room to experience these. And yes, that particular setting was a little extreme, but just shutting out the ability to do other things suddenly makes you see your surroundings in a different light. And that helps when you want to write about them.
Lack of interactions – Even if you go somewhere off-grid with family (as I did), the lack of interaction with people both online and offline makes you reassess the structure of relationships, the importance of particular stressors, and the backlog of your to-do list. All these feed very nicely into plot and characterisation.
So what are you waiting for? Turn off your phones, disconnect from the internet and immerse yourself in a disconnected world – it’s a surprisingly quick way of reconnecting you to things that matter.