So next week Mr. Jaye and I are going on vacation to Italy. This will be the first major trip we've taken since our honeymoon ten years ago next month. I'm totally stoked. I've wanted to go to Italy ever since I saw Stealing Beauty in college. Liv Tyler I'm not, but I will do my best to recreate the bohemian lifestyle. The town we're starting out trip in is famous for it's wine, and I plan to indulge. Heavily. Then it's off to Florence to glut ourselves on Renaissance art and fattening foodstuffs.
But a dark cloud looms on the periphery of the excitement. Mr. Jaye has forbidden me to take any device which allows internet access.
I'll pause for a moment for that to sink in. Eleven days with no Twitter, Facebook, blogs, email or instant messenger. Eleven days without my precious laptop. Eleven days when I'm forbidden to think about deadlines or rewrites. (Okay this last part isn't so bad.)
My name is Jaye and I'm an internet junky.
My ego craves constant stimulation in the form of Google alerts and Amazon rankings. Failing that, I begin a shame spiral that involves a circuit of blogs, facebook games, twitter and IM banter with other procrastinating authors. And truth be told, my writing has suffered for it. The more time I spend in the virtual world, the less time I'm spending in both the real world and the ones of my own creation. But I'm not alone--a lot of writers I talk to lately have admitted suffering from similar symptoms.
As far as I can see, the problem has two parts. First, these days, the Internet is our best resource for promotion. And it's no secret that authors are expected to be book pimps as well as word hos. The second issue is that writing is a solitary endeavor. For extroverts like myself, the internet offers endless opportunity to connect with both peers and readers. And if we're not careful, even something like a quick log-in to check some bit of research can turn into a three-hour tour through the labyrinth.
So, as much as I anticipate a couple of days of withdrawal, perhaps a week or so offline will do me some good. After all, the best inspiration for stories is real life, not the virtual lives we lead online.
That said, if you see a report of a woman arrested in Florence for offering to blow a stranger for five minutes of internet access, well, it probably wasn't me.