Too Much Computer Time … What I Say When People Start To Talk

Back in 2003, a pen and notebook were the tools I used to record my stories and thoughts. Blogs didn’t exist for me and my personal computer was used mostly for photos and email. I had a laptop for my pharma sales work life, but any creative writing I managed to fit into an overstuffed schedule went into a notebook like the one you see on the table.

I never could have imagined I would be able to compose at the keyboard. Typing was always a chore for me and even though I’d struggled through a typing class in high school, I’d never been successful at memorizing the keyboard and I couldn’t seem to use more than a couple of fingers when completing reports or sending emails.

These days, I spend loads of time writing and my computer is never far from me for long. Blogging and writing comes up in conversation a fair amount of the time and I should not have been surprised when a friend in the village quoted some statics she’d heard about the disproportionate amount of time some people spend on their computer as compared to time with their partner.

She looked dead at me after sharing this with a table of people in the pub and said, ” I thought of you when I heard that.” I considered what she said for a moment and said, ” I do spend a huge amount of time at my keyboard, but I treat it as my job. ” I may not be paid for my writing yet, but I will be and everything I do now is with that in mind. So you’re right, I probably do at least on most days, spend 60 percent of my time at my computer, but it’s my work, paid or not it’s my job and this job actually gives me more time to spend with John than if I left the house everyday for the kind of work I’ve done in the past.”

I was writing this post earlier today when John came in to my studio space and said that he was thinking about going over to Lanhydrock for a walk around the gardens since the weather was so sunny and warm. I was writing away and he said, ” You probably don’t want to go do you? ” He knows I can be very disciplined when I’m working and sometimes I do decline a day trip even when the weather is a stunning as it was today.

Although I was right in the middle of this post and another installment of ” Dear Madame, ” I said, ” No, I want to go. ” Thirty minutes later we were out the door and not long after, we were strolling around the grounds snapping photos of spring. Working for yourself means you get to change your hours if you want and I’m glad I did, but I have things to finish before this day is done (word count) so I’m back at the computer even though it’s almost 7:00 and John’s at the pub with friends.

I’m leaving you with a look at our afternoon, but I have a question for you too.

What I need from you

I’m pretty excited about how the next post for ” Dear Madame ” is looking as well as my notes for future installments. What I need from you is … which day of the week is the best day for you to spend a few minutes indulging in a serial novel because that’s what this looks like it’s going to be? Let me know in a comment and I’ll do my best to comply with the general consensus.

16 thoughts on “Too Much Computer Time … What I Say When People Start To Talk

  1. I would consider that lady’s comment to you as bordering on rude. Yes there are probably many couple failing to spend time together because one is immersed in online gaming or updating their facebook status but that same couple in years gone by would have found escape from one another in any number of different distractions. Sitting in a friends kitchen after the kids were tucked up in bed. Husband down the pub having a pint with the boys.
    I really don’t see what business it is of hers to direct such a comment at you in a public setting.
    Anyway. Rant over. Looking forward to the next installment of your story. It doesn’t matter to me which day you choose…

    • Gina ~ Thanks so much for your support and you’re right about her comment sounding as if she was bordering on rude. She’s fairly plain spoken and uses her computer so infrequently she sees no benefit really in having it. Because her laptop is more of an intrusion than a helpmate, I think she can’t see the possibility of how mine might be as important a tool for me as those that she uses in her sideline business. I was actually glad to have had an opportunity to educate her a bit more about me and what I really do. That she said what she did in front of other people was a bit off putting, but I think by handling it in a way that was respectful and firm, I treated her as I would wish to be treated. How she chooses to behave before and after that is up to her. I doubt she’ll avoid making a personal opinion so public in the future, but who knows. I do think that like many people she has a tender heart that is sometimes obscured by a brusk exterior and for now I’m okay with that. Thank you again for your words of support. xo

  2. Gorgeous pictures. And thank you for putting into words a good way to explain the time I spend on the computer.

    I think Friday would be a good day, as I tend to allow myself more time to relax. But really, if I’m interested in the story, any day will be good.

  3. Friday. Which in theory is not a school night but then, when did that stop me…

    Loving the colours in pic 2 and giggling at how English that chap looks in pic 3.

    The script writers instructors at the film school – and their speaking guests – all said they put aside between 3 and 7 hours of uninterrupted time a day, M-F, in which they can only write. No email, facebook, twitter, marketing, phone calls, research or anything else of that sort. If no inspiration strikes, they are still not allowed to do anything else. Some use a keybaord and some write by hand, but its still writing to them. Sometimes this resulted in 3 hours sitting in front of a blank screen and a load of guilt, but that’s how they do it…..

    • Mariellen ~ Thanks for sharing the experience of script writers and their guests. I think I could stick to a no Twitter, Facebook, or Email schedule like that, but I do like to research something when writing at times to be sure I’m factually correct. Also, when I get stuck, I like to take a brisk walk with a bit of notepaper to work things out or a long, hot, shower. I find inspiration in both places. What works for you?

  4. These kinds of comments once threw me for a loop–especially when made in front of other folks. One of the great things about growing older (I’m 65) is that I no longer worry about the opinions of others too much.
    Elizabeth–I enjoy your writing immensely and am grateful that you choose to share your life and adventures.

  5. A relative occasionally makes comments about my being “a blogger” in a somewhat patronizing tone. Each time I patiently explain that while yes, I do have a blog, I make my living as a personal finance columnist for MSN Money.
    I try to tell him that blogging is not necessarily an egotistical exercise — that some bloggers are the equivalent of the old-time newspaper columnist in that people follow them and engage in discussion and debate.
    I don’t think he’s listening. Then again, he doesn’t have a computer and seems to take some perverse pride in avoiding the Internet. His loss.
    The real question: Why do I let his comments bug me?

  6. That comment reminds me of one my Mother In Law made to me, ‘people who use computers are boring’. She said it to me looking dead at me too, at the time I was having a conversation with others about the virtues of shopping on-line, facebook etc. IT overwhelms her, and I think she was feeling left out. Last week she said she was going to get a computer, and broadband – I just smiled and said, that’s great, you’ll love it. I take my cue from the learned Penguins in that well-known philosophical Disney movie Madagascar, ‘smile and wave boys, smile and wave….’

  7. I accidently cut out; your writing and photography are a pleasure and inspiration to many of us, please keep spreading the joy, our days would be greyer without you.

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