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.