Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunday Scribblings #101: The Experiment


Computers can take over your life, if you let them. I’ve noticed, increasingly over the past few years, that I spend an awful lot of time in front of the screen, much of it very unproductively; playing solitaire, reading email, blog-hopping, web surfing. Had I spent all of that time writing, researching, and finding markets, my writing career may be going somewhere other than the dusty back shelf. Even worse, all that time in front of the computer would have been much better spent interacting with my family.

But it’s hard when the computer resides in your main living space. Beckoned by the ever-changing wallpaper and the promise of a friendly email at the click of a mouse, I’m drawn to the screen like a magnet. And if I’m not glued to the computer, one of my kids certainly will be. It's high time the spell was broken.

And so began, “The Experiment.” I’ve spent weeks now, clearing out an unused bedroom, painting, decorating, organizing, until there was only one thing left to do; move the computer.

I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated long and hard over the decision. Like an addict asked to give up his regular fix, I came up with every reason in the book that this just wouldn’t work. I worried about how I would keep up with my blog, the household finances, my dieting records, my email, without being forever closed up in that little room. I wondered how I would dole out computer time to the kids and still be present to keep an eye on what they’re doing. I nearly convinced myself to trash the whole idea.

Then I remembered why this experiment began. I need a dedicated area and dedicated, quiet time in which to do my writing. Even more, I need balance between the computer and the rest of my life, which is ever so much more important. I need to remember what I did all day before I had a computer. It hasn’t been that long, after all.

So this past weekend, I took the final step. I moved the computer out of our living area. I now have “an office.”

All the way upstairs.

Behind closed doors.

And it’s strange – but I like it.

There are still a few more things to be done to have everything I need within reach. There are many old habits to break. There’s a new routine to be learned, in fact, the introduction of a whole new concept – scheduling. It feels strange and unfamiliar, but somehow exhilarating, too. Change is hard, but good. It helps you break out of old, tired routines, and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. And I will get used to it.

Yes, I think this experiment is going to work out just fine.

6 comments:

Jon said...

I had the exact same dilemma some months back. I too now have an office. Unfortunately I have also acquired a laptop to use downstairs. I think people are beginning to think that I want to be a recluse - if only I could.

Amarettogirl said...

I had my computer in a designated space. 'had' being the key word - then i weakened and brought the computer to my bedroom where I spend unprecedented time on it - you have just reminded me that it is time to return it to that structured space. thank you!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I am set up in the handy-dandy home office at the front of our house. I share a wall with the TV -- on opposite sides, naturally. This room is my retreat, my resort, my space.

gautami tripathy said...

This is how it is, with me too!
deep sigh!

Refluxing Life

solsamba said...

I enjoyed this post! I am divided between wanting to write and not wanting to spend time on a machine.
At the moment I write in my notebook (the old-fashioned kind, with paper). The picture you posted is gorgeous Where is it from?

Heather said...

Thank you all for stopping by! It seems we all have to juggle our time and try to find a balance. Good to know I'm not the only one with this problem! lol

Solsamba, do you mean the photo of the calla lily? I took that one last year, out on our back deck. I have a whole big planter filled with calla lilies and they are just amazingly beautiful when they're all in bloom. Thank you!