connectivity and creativity

image (36)I’m addicted to my smart phone. I use it all the time to check Twitter, Facebook, emails and texts, to comment on blogs, surf the net and take masses of photos. I even occasionally use it to make a phone call…

But two weeks ago – SHOCK, HORROR – it broke. Just completely, catastrophically died. No hope of resuscitation (or not by me, anyway).

I’ll take it into the phone shop in town, I thought that first day. But I didn’t get round to it – there was too much else going on. It was a bit frustrating but fine. It was only a problem when I was out of the house anyway as I have a laptop at home. It wasn’t like I was cut-off from technology, I just didn’t have it at my fingertips every second of the day.

On the second phone free day I thought, Hmm, shall I make that trip into town? Nah. I couldn’t quite be bothered.

On the third day I realised that the reason I hadn’t been to the phone shop yet was that, actually, I was rather liking not having my phone with me. I felt free. And I also realised (in the way you notice how often you check your watch on the day you forget to put it on and find yourself constantly confronted by a jarringly empty patch of skin) that I check the blasted thing far too often. At the school gate, in the queue at the local shop… even in the car waiting at the traffic lights. So I decided I’d just leave it for a while and see how I got on without it.

What I’ve found is that (surprise, surprise) without my phone I’ve had time to notice other things. As I sat waiting for friends to join us at the park (oh, ok, it was the local ice cream parlour if you must know) instead of continually glancing at a little screen in my hand I just sat and watched what was going on. I watched my sons playing rather than just looking up to check they were ok. I watched other kids rushing around. I watched the sky and the wind in the trees and I noticed the landscape. It felt peaceful.

And I felt like I’d somehow found a bit of creative inspiration I’d previously been lacking. Because actually, all those little periods of time we spend in queues or traffic jams or waiting for kids or friends, are the times when – if we look closely – life is happening. Not the huge, great, exciting, dramatic things, but the tiny, every day pieces of normality. And as a writer those moments are so important: they can spark ideas, help us flesh out characters in stories we’re writing or just suggest little details to add to our work. They are the seemingly insignificant moments that, if captured, give our books a ring of truth.

Anyway, it turns out my phone is beyond all hope so, am I forsaking the concept of a smart phone forever? Skipping into the wild blue yonder with only hope and a messenger pigeon?

Oh, of course not! BUT once I get my shiny, new little technological friend I’m going to be keeping it firmly in my bag when I’m out of the house, only to be used if I really need it. Promise.

How about you? Do you like to be connected to social media constantly? Are you contactable at all times? Could you (do you?) live without a smart phone?
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10 thoughts on “connectivity and creativity

  1. Mummy Tries

    Glad you’ve enjoyed your little break from being constantly plugged in, sounds good – especially the ice cream parlour bit ;-) I’ve had no end of phone trouble this whole year after dropping my brand new HTC One down the loo a few weeks after baby was born; it was two months into a 24 month contract! Since then I’ve had a tablet with phone functionality but the phone on it is useless. I’ve had an old iphone that barely sends a text message and now have a hand me down iphone which works great but doesn’t pick up wifi outside of the house. It was annoying at first but I now find it liberating xxx #WWW

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Phone down the loo – oh no! I’ve had a couple of near misses like that which is why my new phone (which just arrived this very afternoon!) is waterproof! I’m also going to buy it some sort of bouncy cover as I am terrible with accidentally dropping phones. I took my new phone on it’s first trip this afternoon and left it in my bag the whole time •feels smug for sticking to promise even if only for 30mins* Thanks for commenting! xx

      Reply
  2. Ally Bishop

    I had a similar experience. Last October, a student of mine stole my iPhone. I was devastated, went through the immediate motions of reporting it, going through the police interview, debating whether to spend full price on another one or use my husband’s upgrade, etc. But for nearly 10 days…I had no phone. And it was one of the strangest and most freeing experiences of my life. I’m still debating if it wasn’t better than having one. :)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Stolen? That’s terrible! (especially by a student!). But yes it is oddly nice to be without one isn’t it? Thanks for commenting Ally.

      Reply
  3. Carol Cameleon

    You are SO spot-on here Maddy. You really do notice ‘things’ more, get more inspiration, enjoy things more without the safety net/habit of a smartphone eternally refreshing social media feeds. I managed to block my sim last year. Long story short, I still have a smartphone but I’ve disabled 3G because of the cost and I rarely connect to wifi at home. I felt like I was missing out on the normal moments. I’ve found it liberating and now I HAVE to spark up conversations at birthday parties and while waiting for the kettle to boil at a friend’s! Do you know what’s even better?! I quite often note the ideas I get during these normal moments without 3G on my notepad on my phone ;) Great post and thanks for linking up to #WonderfulWorldfWriting

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Carol – glad you’re liberated too! And it sounds like you have the best of both worlds with your phone. Thanks for hosting #wonderfulworldofwriting

      Reply
  4. Rachael

    Oh my goodness I’ve been here! See: http://honestspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/on-being-more-and-broken-phones/ This was only last year…. And yet. Old habits are so easy to slip back into aren’t they? I am online more and more these days as I am building my freelance business and my husband even just now came in and asked ‘Aren’t you going to stop and eat?’ I did leave my phone in another room while watching a movie earlier with my son but still. I even bought a new watch earlier this year so I didn’t have the excuse of needing my phone to check the time!

    Thanks for the reminder. I will leave the house tomorrow morning with my watch, without my phone and notice what happens…

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Oh, I’ll pop over and read that! Yes, I think I’m going to have to work at keeping my phone at arms length as I can well imagine it will come sneaking back up on me. Good luck with leaving the house without yours! Thanks for commenting, Rachael xx

      Reply
  5. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

    My phone is my lifeline. It tells me what to do and when. I use it like normal people use a laptop so that I can write and keep one eye on errant kids. I did disconnect myself from social media a couple of years ago though and my productivity soared. I think it’s all about finding a balance. The input we get from the internet and social media can both fuel inspiration and dampen it. X

    Reply

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