Thursday, September 12, 2013

Getting Back To Wasting Time The Old Fashioned Way

I about had a heart attack earlier this week--I opened up my Wi-Fi bill.  Holy cow!  I thought at first it had to be a mistake.  It wasn't.

It's really got me looking at my computer usage.  About two years ago, I upgraded everything.  Replaced my old cell phone with a iPhone, got Wi-Fi instead of that old USB access that rarely worked right and when it did kicked me off the internet every twenty minutes.  And Valerie and I both got iPads on top of that.  It was going to make me so productive . . .

Has it?

No, it has not.  If anything, it has made me less productive as a writer, and what I do write is not as good as what I was writing a couple years ago.  I get less done now than I did before I had good access at home, and I think my wife would agree.  Computers and the Internet are great tools if used as tools, but are much more attractive to many as distractions, and can consume hours and hours of time.  I'll admit, I spend hours wasting time on Facebook, and Twitter, and downloading images, and looking at funny videos on YouTube.  Before our technical upgrade at home, I only spent time online between books.  I'd pop up for a few months as a Facebook addict, and then vanish again without a trace when I headed back to the bunker to write another book. 

My wife is similiarly addicted--her internet addiction is Pinterest.  Sadly, I spend a lot of time looking over her shoulder as she scans down through page after page of interesting, but essentially useless stuff.  In fact, it was the other night when I was looking over her shoulder and the words "wow, that's a really neat idea for a centerpiece" popped out of my mouth that I realized I had a huge problem, and it was time to get a grip on it (maybe even professional help).

What I realize now is the time wasted on the internet isn't like the time I used to waste before the world became so technically advanced.  There are some advantages to a wired world, but the majority of time I spend online is devoid of any benefit.  It's not like when I used to get bored and decided to waste a few hours fishing.  I enjoyed that.  Very often I took my daughter with me.  I have fond memories of wasting time like that, and yet, I couldn't name one very memorable thing I did last week on the internet--well, that video of a monkey putting on lipstick was kind of funny.

So over the next few weeks, I'm going to really look at how I spend my time online.  Valerie and I are both working on it.  We have turned off the Wi-Fi for now.  We'll turn it on when we need it, not when we want it.  I'll spend my computer time at home off-line like I used to back when I was way more productive.  Maybe if I focused a little more on the things I write, instead of watching chickens play tic-tac-to at a county fair I'd be able to pay my Wi-Fi bill, and more people would read the things I write.

And if I get in the mood to waste a little time, maybe I'll take my little girl fishing. 


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014

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