I made an interesting discovery on my last summer vacation. Time away from the internet can do wonders for your writing and for your time management too.
As usual in every vacation I never take my laptop with me. I know that it will be hard to be away from the virtual world, but I make a stand on it. It’s a, to some degree, return to the past ritual; to the time when I didn’t own a computer and didn’t even know what an email was. I remember having more time for everything back then even if some of that time was spent watching television. As nowadays television for me is something I mainly use to show my DVDs twice per week, during these three weeks I used the internet free time for something more constructive; reading.
Since I often change my mind about what I want to go on reading, it’s very practical to carry a great number of books in an electronic reader. So, apart from the two books I started and didn’t feel like reading to the end, during this vacation I managed to finish reading other six books: Four science-fiction books and two about writing craft. These last two I didn’t only read, but also studied, making notes on the e-reader. When I was writing, I was fine under the sun with a paper notebook and a pen. I had the double word count I usually have at home while trying the almost impossible task (with my white complexion) of getting a tan. All this while reading and writing were just a part of my day. The rest of the time I was “busy” enjoying my vacations and had a great time, without internet.
But coming back to my main theme, inspiration. Ideas rarely come to me while sitting in front of my computer. I think this happens because too much goes on in the virtual world and I’m not disciplined enough not to look around while writing. New ideas appear while cooking, talking to people, taking a shower or just after closing my eyes and deciding I was done for the day and I’m going to sleep. Usually I’m not thinking about my novel, it happens unconsciously when I am relaxed. So, the best thing to do when you hit the wall is to take a break. Give it time, from half an hour to a full night of sleep, preferably go to do a task that doesn’t occupy your mind so much. Even everyday work, like baking a cake or ironing clothes can help your mind in answering your questions for you. Inspiration will surface when you expect it the least.