First, I’m thrilled to announce that River Ram Press has released Volume 1 of its literary magazine, featuring several short stories and poems by emerging writers, including one by yours truly called ‘Remaining’. If you feel so inclined, please pick up your digital copy for the remarkably affordable price of a tall Starbucks latte ($3.49) here.
Now, regular readers of my blog may remember that late last month, I vowed to have Screen-Free Sundays for the month of August, or Screen-Moderated Sundays, considering that the whole goal was to spend more time with my husband and we just so happen to enjoy watching TV together. Incidentally, we also got Netflix this month, so trying to give up screens entirely would have been an exercise in futility.
Well, dear reader, the month of August has come to an end (or it will approximately five hours after I have written this in Australia). I have successfully completed my goal and kept my tired eyes away from screens for 24 hours every Sunday this month without fail because I have a will of iron and hold to my word no matter what.
Er…well, sort of. Listen, I did okay, actually. Considering that most days I spend roughly 10 hours in front of the computer, I did pretty well. I may have checked email once or twice, without responding to any of course, just to see if an agent might have emailed me on a Sunday or if — you know — the world had ended and someone chose to email me about it. I also checked Twitter after 10pm once or twice. But since I’d gone to bed at 10pm the night before, I technically had gone 24 hours, all right?
Anyway, semantics aside, I think I did pretty well. And I’m actually proud of myself. Being a writer means you always have something to do and it’s hard to have free time and not feel guilty about letting it remain free instead of jamming it full of stuff. But I did it.
This past month, I spent more time with my husband on the weekend than any weekend before, which was awesome. I’m sure it was nice for him to see my face when it wasn’t scrunched up in stress and my eyes weren’t square-shaped and glazed with panic because what if I miss an important tweet while we sit here watching Arrested Development?
Overall, this month-long experiment was a success. Did you know that taking time off is actually healthy for you? I know, right? That was one thing I didn’t cheat on at all. Other than reading — which I suppose is part of my job, but I generally just find awesome and fun — I did no work on Sundays this month. And a funny thing happened. I still got work done throughout the week. I still met my deadlines, answered my emails, engaged with friends on social media, even gained about 100 new followers on Twitter.
Not too shabby considering I spent approximately 40 hours less on my computer than I do in an average month.
Look, I’d love to tell you that it was simple and that I awoke each day with a smile because I didn’t need to immediately turn my phone on and see what I had missed due to the obnoxious time difference between the US and Australia that means most of my friends are awake when I’m asleep and vice versa. I would love to tell you that I didn’t get the shakes and itchy fingers, dying to swipe on my loving touch screen and hit those shiny colorful icons to see what everyone was up to. I mean, what if I missed a hilarious thing one of my friends’ kids said and they posted on Facebook? What if there was a cute picture of one of my nieces or nephews and I didn’t see it? WHAT IF, PEOPLE?
Somehow, I survived, though. It’s not as if I gave up coffee.
And I’ve come out on the other side to spread the good news and say, Screen-Free September has a nice ring to it too. I might not go cold turkey with social media, but I will definitely continue my tradition of taking a day off. Somehow, the words and the projects will still be there tomorrow.
When’s the last time you consciously gave something up for a period of time? What was it?