I am sitting on the balcony of an apartment that overlooks the sea. A gentle breeze is wafting over me, the sun is shining, there are white puffy clouds in the sky and I am watching the sailing boats gliding over the calm waters. I have a cup of nice coffee and a bottle of Armagnac in front of me, for later this evening. In the bread basket are some brioche and some artisan baked bread, that I have just eaten a few slices of for breakfast. It was delicious. I’m in a little creative haven. What I don’t have is Internet connectivity.
It’s funny how we sometimes let things overtake our lives, by default, without realising what we have given up to accommodate them. In this apartment, there is no WiFi. I suspect if we were motivated enough, we could walk a short distance to a café or bar and find free WiFi, but why bother? I also have data roaming turned off, because the charges are extortionate and far too high to contemplate. I have better things to spend my money on. Consequently, I have a few days “off grid”, where I get a chance to think, reflect and write, without the constant, background ambience of fear, destruction and depression induced by the news, facebook and twitter. Yes, I miss contact with my online friends, but it’s a small sacrifice for the peace of mind that you can achieve by going off grid.
There is no frenzy. There is no need to react to events. There is no obligation to interact and be sociable. I can sit here and write, without significant interference. What’s the net result? Well, between me and my Evernote app on my iPhone, there are now no fewer than eleven posts all mapped out in point form, ready to flesh out; vignettes and thoughts that occurred to me, during my time away from the office. Will I write them all? Perhaps. It’s my decision.
This is the closest feeling to freedom I can imagine.
I recommend going off grid for a period of time, to refresh your creativity. It’s amazing how, when your mind is no longer deluged by the endless stream of distraction and no longer assaulted by the more unpleasant events in the world, it begins to create. It’s like an instinct. As soon as the noise dies down, your mind finds clarity and things begin to flow. You find yourself making all sorts of plans, imagining all sorts of possibilities and having ideas that surprise yourself. You suddenly regain your powers of insight and lucidity. Your vocabulary returns. In short, your sub-conscious begins to assert itself in the absence of any needless, chaotic brain clutter.
As an artist, one of the best things you can possibly do, to restore your perhaps weary faculties of creativity, is to go off grid for a while. That might mean turning the Internet off, or it might mean traveling into the wilderness. Whatever works for you. All I can say is that the experience is restorative, recreational and reinvigorating.
You can always catch up, when you return.