fly away

On living a less connected life

In private conversation I have from time to time compared myself to an attempting-to-reform alcoholic sleeping with a bottomless beer keg next to their bed.

In my case, the bottomless beer keg is the internet, and O how I do despise who I become when drunk on it even as I cherish the connections it's allowed me to make, the motivation it's provided to actually write and complete stories and poetry--the music I've found, the art I've discovered, the fiction I've devoured.

But the latter is the problem, because without some sort of inescapable external limit, I don't merely devour fiction, I gorge myself on it, use "one more chapter, one more story" as an excuse for blatant sloth, become utterly distracted from writing my own fiction. And the things I do wind up reading ...! No matter how beautiful the beginning of my path, I always seem to end in a cesspool.

This is not me swearing off fanfiction, fandom, the internet. But this is me admitting I have a set of pretty serious sins that all seem to be flourishing thanks to my inability or unwillingness to use the internet as a limited tool instead of a kind of drug or dreamland. I can't bring myself to state it baldly enough to the people I spend time with in person for them to understand how big an issue this has become for me, but I can do so here. It's a little like the confession booth, where the screen is enough of a separation to allow for deep honesty. There are probably a few "real life" friends reading this--if so, could you please not bring it up in person? I have not yet begun to remove myself enough from it to do more than this: type out my confession online so it's not merely in my head and therefore deniable.

As confession is only the first step, and I have no priest to assign penance, I'll be taking the self-imposed step of removing the beer keg from my bedroom: following the example of a dear friend, for the foreseeable future my laptop will remain at work, where there's a fairly strict firewall and content filter (and time limit: 75 minutes max, between early arrival and my full lunch break). And I'll be rationing my Kindle access until I move past the urge to use it merely as a hand-held internet browser instead of the ebook reader I originally bought it as.

Ironically, this will probably mean more posts here--and perhaps even fiction, as I'll have vastly fewer distractions at home and always did write more freely with pen and paper than screen and keyboard. We'll see, but the pruned tree does tend to bear more fruit.

I just spent several minutes debating whether or not to allow comments on this; I think I shall, but mostly because it would probably be good for me to receive reminders in my inbox that I wrote it.
Thank you, dear, for being vulnerable enough to share your confession. As a sister-in-faith who struggles with very similar issues, your honesty encourages me and reminds me that I am not alone. I look forward to hearing more from you, if that is indeed the result of your decision. Your bravery inspires me to take a hard look at my choices and behaviors re: the internet. I wish you the very very best as you strive after higher things.
It really is helpful to know you're not alone in struggling with an issue, isn't it? I pray God grants you both wisdom and self-discipline in this temptation--that you might master it and not be mastered.
I know the feeling. My problems is that there is so much out there. The internet is both a refreshing stream and a cesspool and it can be hard to avoid the dark part at times.
Good luck!
Thank you, and to you as well!

The never-ending quality of it is why it's so addictive, I think: there's always another corner to turn, another link to click, another feed to check for updates.
I don't think I have a problem with that as I convert my fanfiction for my Kindle and take it with me to doc. appointments only. I do not read the fics online since I don't have time. Even now in the last 2 months I have been reading real books and taking them with me and leaving the Kindle at home. I only check my email at night on the laptop for a few hours then do some surfing and then close it down. Maybe you just need time limits of some kind?
I'm very glad for your sake restraint when it comes to the internet isn't something you struggle with. Because it can become (and I use this phrase judiciously) the very devil to deal with. I've lost track of how many early mornings I've said "I'll stop at X:00" and then gone on for another 3 hours. Time limits are only any good if you can actually bring yourself to enforce them.
I feel the pull of the internet. It's a lot of why I don't have a smartphone. I know I can't trust myself.
The smartphone is one line I know I'll never, ever cross, because yes: there goes any possibility of restraint. The Kindle's browser is clunky enough to be a lesser temptation, and my laptop is easily abandoned at work for days if necessary, but my phone? Once that bridge is crossed, I'm afraid it'll be the ruin of me.
It's been surprisingly hard to explain to people why I don't want a smartphone these last few years, though people used to understand my reasoning pretty readily. Changing times, I guess?
Complete connectivity seems to be the expectation, nowadays. Of course, my cellphone chose to die this morning, so this all might become less of an exercise in theory soon. Here's hoping it just needs a new battery. (Here's hoping a new battery is actually still available!)
I do empathize but feel I should tell you that your writing and comments and .discoveries shared are one of the blessings of the internet. Thank you.
And thank you for the encouragement! I'm just getting over a long, unpleasant cold (at least with the flu I probably wouldn't have had two ear infections), during which I clung to the internet as a way to keep from going stir-crazy, but now that I'm better I'm going back to the mostly-just-at-work plan. We'll see how it goes--hopefully this time I won't get sick (again) just as I'm trying to implement it. :P

And I hope that with less of an internet distraction, I'll manage to actually get back to writing semi-regularly. I miss those days.