This summer, I unplugged for two months while I traveled, taught and attended an artist residency. I have not looked at facebook since mid-June, and haven’t missed it. I posted to instagram only sporadically until I headed home and even took a hiatus from writing this newsletter. For the most part, my access to both cell service and the internet was extremely limited and wasn’t available at all in my studio.
Without the ability to check email or make a post, I simply worked. Without the constant interruption, I could think more deeply about my work and push through barriers when I might normally be tempted to take a break and check email. When I did take a break, it was to take a nap (there was a bed in each studio) or wander along the shore to see what the retreating tide left behind—perhaps an urchin or waved whelk, almost always a bit of sea glass. These were much more productive breaks that allowed for creative incubation and left me feeling refreshed, and it made me realize how much I miss that in my daily life.
I’m back home and reconnected again, but trying to find ways to break this habit of always checking my phone. I’ve left it in the car when I might normally take it with me. I’m turning off alerts. And I’m seeking ways to put my creative work first when I get to the studio—waiting until late in the day to tend to business, correspondence and social media. I’d love to hear about ways you unplug or manage distractions like social media, emails and calls, and how it has made you more creative, productive or attentive.