Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Internet-dependent are you?

New Year's Day.  9:09AM

We welcomed 2012 with a little bit of winter weather and some wind.  Not sure the cause, but suddenly the bathroom lights go out. I make my way into the kitchen and flick the light...nothing. I say, "Power's out." Downstairs, my 8yr old son says, "So that's what it was. That scared me. There was a pop and a flash down here."  Me: "You mean outside?"  Son: "No, behind the computer." Me: Yikes!

Since the power was out, there was nothing I could do at the moment, and I was honestly more concerned about heat if the outage lasted too long. Everything came back on about 1015AM, with some beeps here and there, the stove clock flashing 9:09, and that sudden loud humming of appliances that we never notice until a complete absense of power is suddenly restored.

So I head down to the computer and everything turns on just fine (Thank God!) except...

The DSL modem.

Crap. I have no internet. No lights at all on the modem.

A call to tech support confirmed somehow the modem was fried during the power outage despite being plugged into a surge protecter and everything else on that outlet being fine.  Apparently, the surge came from the dedicated DSL line, not the electrical cord.  That's when I found out that you can purchase surge protectors for the not only the electrical outlets, but the DSL line as well.  (It's on my list now!)

Long story shortend a little bit, due to the holiday and a phone company goof up on the order, my new modem didn't arrive until Jan. 5th.  That was 5 whole days without internet. At first I was silently panicking...What will I do until Thursday without internet??!!

No email. No checking my sales at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  No book promo. No Facebook. 

I took a deep breath and applied the advice I always give my hubby that frustrates him: "There's nothing you can do about it, freaking out won't get the internet working any sooner, so just deal with it."

So I started writing.  And every ten or fifteen minutes that first day I'd hear this muted little "ding" as if I'd received a new email.  And I'd click down on my InBox to see who sent a message only to remember I had no internet!  Then about ten minutes later, I'd click to go on Amazon to check my book stats. Crap. No internet! 

The second day, I didn't open any other applications other than my WIP (work in progress) and I was no longer hearing those phantom dings. I didn't worry about sales, or promo...I just wrote like crazy. It was quite freeing. By the time Thursday rolled around, I had written over 7000 words, which equals about 21 double-spaced pages.  In a normal week--the full 7 days--I get about 5000 words done.  By the end of that first week of January I finished 11,500 words.

Ironically, that 5 days of no internet was just what I needed to show me what I can do when I'm not distracted. It's also a good lesson to turn off the internet when I'm working on deadline and need to get the words on the page.

Also, as initially traumatic as it was to consider the better part of a week disconnected, I quickly realized it wasn't worth putting on make-up to take my hubby's laptop into town for free wi-fi.  As long as I know it's not indefinite, I'm now comfortable knowing I can survive without the internet. And, I suppose it wasn't complete cut off--I did borrow my son's 3G phone each night to check my sales numbers. :)

So how internet-dependent are you?  If you were cut-off, how would you deal with it?

Stacey Joy Netzel


  1. Stacey,

    After a terrible wind storm last summer, we were without power for 2.5 days. No AC, no phone, no internet, no lights at night, no way to flush toilets--you get the drift. I couldn't even read much unless I had a flashlight. Fortunately we had long days at the end of June and early July which helped. So I learned I can cope and I can get things done despite difficult circumstances. That could be considered a distraction of a major sort.

    As for daily distractions, I think having been in an office with 12 other professors, all doing their thing, helped me fine tune ignorning distractions. I'm almost as good as my hubby is selectively choosing what to here or react to. ;-) Good post.

  2. Casey, that's a LOT more extreme than my couple days. In the summer, I could probably deal for a few days. Those who endure those terrible storms in winter and have no power even for a DAY, I don't know how.

    Glad you're able to deal with the distractions well. I go in phases--if I don't have a choice, I am able to deal with it, if it's just me at home and I can shut stuff off, I work better that way. Guess I just roll with the punches. :)

  3. I had to go for 3 days and it literally felt like my arm had been cut off. I propose a 12 step program. Perhaps IDA, Internet Dependance Anonymous.

  4. :) Diana, I like IDA. Glad you're connected again!