I've been musing about what to write in this post ever since I stopped doing the media blackout but I keep putting it off. I guess I'm a little unsure of how to sum the week up. I've been asking myself some questions about the week so I think that by trying to answer them you may get a feel for my thoughts and reactions to turning down the media in my life.
Did I miss anything?
The answer to this is yes, I certainly did. i missed reading, having a book to dip into when I wanted to escape. I found it very odd not to have a book on the go and I struggled to see what the value of not reading was at the start of the week. However, as time went on I realised that not having other writers words in my head was allowing me to hear the words in my own head. I started to feel a little more confident in the narrative voice I have playing in my mind so i found i felt freer to write as me, rather than trying to write like someone else.
I did feel a bit of FOMO as well. my lovely online friends are a source of comfort and amusement to me and I love getting a tiny glimpse into their lives. I certainly missed that. Thankfully the world didn't end while I was away so I picked up with them fairly easily!
Would I change anything?
I think I'd be a little kinder to myself and perhaps permit a bit of reading. a chapter a day or something. It really felt strange to not have a book on the go.
Apart from that I think the detox went well. If I do it again (and I think I might) I'll certainly give myself guidelines that will keep me on track. I'm sure that it would be easy to slip quietly back into checking Twitter too often or sneaking an extra TV programme, especially if you have the resolve of a mouse, like me.
What did I enjoy about the week?
The best think about the week was the writing I did. Now, sadly, the novel is still a slow process. I'm struggling to free myself from the idea that the first draft has to be perfect. I know it doesn't and that I just need to get the first draft written but there is a tiny yet shrill voice shouting 'You're writing rubbish! Fix it now!' I think she needs a lie down or a large gin ... maybe both! But it's hard to ignore her all the same. I did enjoy not feeling guilty about time spent writing. I always get an attack of the guilts when I do anything that is just for me. I feel as if I should be doing something more productive (ironing, baking, cleaning) or something less selfish than sitting and writing. Heaven knows how I get rid of those feelings, it's been too many years to count and they're still there.
I also loved the journal I started to write. I was hoping for some profound moment of great revelation but that didn't happen; as if! But I did enjoy sitting and writing about whatever was in my head at the time. I've decided to keep writing the journal but turn it into a general writers notebook/ideas book.
Has it changed my life?
Well, strictly speaking, no. But then I didn't really think it would. I'm back to stalking Twitter again, I still haven't got out of obsessively clicking the 'One New Tweet' button as if something life-changing is behind it. I'm watching more TV than during the blackout and I've started a new book. So some things are back to usual.
However, I seem to have lost my appetite for day time TV. I turned Jeremy Kyle on and after 15 minutes I wondered why I was wasting my time watching those dreadful people and turned it off. I'm not saying I'll never watch it again - it's like an addiction in a way - but I don't feel the need to rush home from the shop to catch it anymore (yes, I really used to do that...)
It's also taught me the value of turning the noise off and concentrating on one thing at a time. Without the TV as background noise it's easier to concentrate on what I'm writing and easier for me to think. I also enjoy the silence to think in; no outside noise or clutter intruding.
So, how would I sum up the week? Well, it was challenging. So many times I went to turn on the TV or open Twitter and had to remind myself that they were verboten this week. So many times I longed to disappear into a good book, or even a bad one. But it was a useful, interesting experience. I didn't have great insight into the world, or write anything fascinating or disturbing, or end up tearing my hair out and kicking the cat. But I did find a bit of peace and quiet in my life which I rather enjoyed and hope to hold on to.