Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash
For most of December, we’ve been trialling screen-free Sunday at my instances. There’s been a few reasons for this — largely relating to the challenges my wife and I face as parents of special needs children. Then there’s also my own need to detach from the digital world and reconnect with the things I’ve largely neglected.
As a professional writer in the digital age, my life is dominated by screens. I work all day on a computer. I write into the evening on my MacBook. I fill in the downtime with my iPad, and of course, I’m check my phone a hundred times a day. Occasionally, I’ll watch some TV or play a game on my PS4. I even read books on my iPad, despite the enormous collection of paperback and hardback books gathering dust in my home library.
Going screen-free isn’t easy, but I figured I owed it to myself and my family to make the effort on Sundays — one day out of seven. So far, it’s been great. I’ve picked up a book (an actual one made of paper) and rediscovered the love of turning pages as I get lost in another world. I’ve played more with my kids, colouring in Princess Poppy with my daughter. My wife has bought a bunch of old school board game, and we’re planning on reserving Friday night for games classics like Monopoly. I’ve also starting running again, along with my old regimen of pushups and pull-ups in the park, with my kids in tow in shifts! It feels like parts of me that have languished in a malaise are now waking up at last.
In all, I count these as very positive things, and we’ll be continuing them into 2019. The one glaring problem though is my creating interests, i.e. writing stories and building worlds, an activity I’ve done almost exclusivity on a screen since getting my first laptop more than 20 years ago.
Now, it would be perfectly reasonably to take a creative break too, but there’s also the opportunity to express my creativity using more traditional means. While I’m not going to write stories by hand — my handwriting is terrible — it might afford me the chance to practice drawing my fantasy maps by hand, or scribble notes and character sheets. Once I’m back in work next week, I’ll toddle myself off to the Officeworks (Australia's equivalent of Staples) and buy myself a couple of nice pens and a sketch or journal, ready for next Sunday!