We’ve been here a week and I haven’t once looked at my Facebook page, Twitter feed or posted a single picture on my Instagram feed. I have also not written anything more than short shopping lists (by hand with actual pen on actual paper) for our nearly daily visits to various markets in this area of South of France.
This may sound like nothing to you, but to me it is revolutionary. Normally when at home in London (or indeed anywhere), the first thing I do, when I wake, is to grab my phone and check my book sales, do a few posts on Twitter and Facebook, check my website stats and look through my emails. This is before I even get out of bed. The rest of the day is the same, I am never too far away from my social media feed, unless I am writing, and forcing myself to be out of the loop for few hours.
Having an Internet Detox during our two week break to Provence this year was the Englishman’s idea. It was something which at first I considered with pure horror; what if my book sales tanked when I wasn’t constantly reminding the world of my existence? What if everybody has forgotten about me (and my work) by the time I re-enter the world of 140 characters or less? What if my email list has disappeared and every reader with it?
‘But who works from noon till night like you do?’ asked the Englishman. ‘You have to have a break some time.’
My excuse was that since I’m building my business – the business of making a living as an author entrepreneur – I have to give it my all. If anyone, he should know, that when you have your own business, you work all the hours.
But a real break from writing, and particularly from social media was exactly what I needed. (As much as it pains me to say it, the Englishman was right). After just one week (and I have another seven days to go), I feel refreshed and my brain feels sharper. I won’t pretend it hasn’t been hard – during the first few days I kept going to my phone and on several occasions was just seconds away from pressing the Twitter icon, or posting a picture on Instagram. But I forced myself to focus on the physical world around me, instead of worrying about the virtual one.
And it seems to have paid off, because I feel so incredibly rested; more relaxed than I have felt in years.
Although, I’m yet to find out if my little online world has collapsed, while I’ve been wandering around pretty French villages, taking long lunches or spending lazy afternoons in the sun.
I sincerely hope you’ll still be there when I get back.
PS. I know I’m cheating a little by writing this post, but last night I began to feel as if I was losing my mind, so I came to an agreement with myself and the Englishman. We both decided one blog post won’t break the detox …