A Week Without the Internet

Well, the title isn’t entirely true. I do get the internet on my phone, but there are some places I can’t comment, and I find it a lot more tiring to deal with Facebook and websites on my phone than on my laptop.

So technically, in the laptop-connecting-to-the-internet way, my family has been without phone service and internet for the past week due to an unfortunate snippage of wires in the attic while hooking up a ceiling fan to electricity. (In my hubby’s defense, there were a LOT of non-essential wires from the previous owner’s alarm system. Shoddily done in the attic and sprawled all over. Plus, it was 90 outside – well over 100 in the attic.)

But as I’ve been in and out of reality anyway while on pain meds, I haven’t really missed it (with the exception of the blog posts I wanted to write). I’ve read close to two dozen novels at this point but haven’t reviewed them. I find I’m slowing down more, I’m learning which emails I read and which I really don’t, and paring down my email groups accordingly.

I also am learning what I miss, twitter being one of them (and the ability to easily do research the other one). My first day out of the house this week was Wednesday, and I headed to Coffee Bean and the free WiFi…and reconnected with the good folks at #MyWANA. I even did a couple #1k1hr rounds, which kickstarted my writing again.

The really interesting thing is, no one at the house is overly-itchy about not having internet. Hubby has been valiantly sitting in the ugliest sauna ever (our attic) while painstakingly tracing wires and connecting things up (we now have a landline that works – in our closet), and yes we’re checking our cell phones to keep on top of our email, but other than that, we’re all pretty loose about not having it. Which frankly is something of a relief.

Of course, the boys are back at Moorpark College, so they have WiFi there. And the Hubby has gone off to Coffee Bean without me when he really had to have connectivity. But there are no overt signs of withdrawal, and that’s all to the good I think.

The last time I went a week without the internet was a couple of years ago, when we went camping for 10 days and I deliberately left my laptop at home. And now that I think about it, the week prior to losing internet I found I was sitting too much and staring online (not writing, not yet) and that wasn’t good for the incision, even when I did use an icepack. So not having internet this past week has allowed me to read more, nap much more, and begin to write (at Coffee Bean) and continue to write (at home) and, most likely, has helped speed the healing process.

I really wanted to get a wine blog posted today, but I was writing on the novel yesterday and I didn’t feel good about bringing empty wine bottles to Coffee Bean. I will do my best to get one written today at home, and post it tomorrow. For as I mentioned to my dear friend Maria, while I’m not drinking wine at the moment due to the drug consumption (and the fact that it tastes bad to me currently), I do have empty bottles sitting on my desk, waiting for their moment in the sun.

At this point, I think we’ll have connectivity next week. If, after this weekend the hubs can’t figure it out, he’ll call a friend of his that’s a phone guy.

So, that’s my week in a nutshell. When was the last time you were without Internet? Did you do it deliberately, or was it accidental? Are you one of those people that checks their smartphone before you go to sleep, and is it the first thing you reach for when you wake up? I’d love to know!

My New Secret Weapon – The Power of #1k1hr

I have a confession to make. My latest book has been intractable. Or maybe that’s just me? Anyway, words aren’t working, plots aren’t cohesive, characters keep slipping their reins and changing their spots. It’s enough to make even the sanest writer wiggy.

I did what I could. For instance, I went over everyone’s motivations and conflicts. I replotted everything from the Big Bad Troublemaker’s point of view. Which gave me all sorts of things to throw at the Hero and the Heroine. All good, right? And I came up with a long list of scenes to write.

I thought I was set until I got to the actual writing. Every action seemed to have to be written. He got into the car. She buckled her seat belt. They breathed. They looked at each other. He started the car. See what I mean? I bored myself to tears.

Two things came to my rescue. First off, Savvy Authors is having their May bootcamp challenge. I’m going to be writing 60k this month, or 2,000 words a day. Okay. I can handle that as I’m not currently working a day job and my children are old enough to take care of themselves. I’m with a fantastic group of authors and we’re all kicking ass on our manuscripts (I’m not about to let them down!).

But I still had that …and then they went to the office, and then they went to kill the demon, and then they… well, you get the idea. I had that problem. Which is where Twitter saved my ass.

Excuse me? Why did you giggle? Oh, you’re not on Twitter. That’s okay. I fought it for a long time, too. But you know what? Right now it’s the single most powerful tool I have for getting words on the page.

Behold – I present to you the power of #1k1hr. The first time I saw that flash by on Twitter, (I believe it was Skylar Kade that I first saw using it), I admit I was intrigued. They were usually talking about how many words they had gotten done during the past hour.

Oh. OH! One thousand words in one hour. I GET it! So when Zoe Archer put out a call last week or so for anyone up for #1k1hr, I hopped in. Why not? It wasn’t a marriage – it was simply someone to hold me accountable for my wordage. Heck, she’s a fabulous writer and I didn’t want to look stupid in front of her, so add that in to the equation, too.

We began at the :15 (since on Twitter, not everyone is in the same time zone, we leave the hour off…it’s either at the top of the hour, the :15, the :30, or – well, you understand) and I wrote like mad. Every time I wanted to stop, I’d look at my word count, check the clock, and keep going.

I’ll admit that first hour I didn’t make 1k. But you know what? I had more words than I would have if I’d been going it alone. And now after getting the hang of it I can usually pull more than 1k in 1hr.

Since then I’ve hooked up with Cid Tyer, Suzan Isik, and Kat Jameson for #1k1hr and of course, I’m still bumping into Zoe Archer and Skylar Kade. Is it working? Well – last week I almost wrote 3000 words.

This week? Sunday in two separate #1k1hr sprints I wrote 2454. Monday I did two and a half #1k1hr sprints and wrote 3297. Yesterday, I made it to 3662 words in another two and a half #1k1hr sprints. So you tell me. Is #1k1hr working, or not?

If you’re not already on Twitter, join up and find me at @CCAshworth. I’m almost always up for a #1k1hr – join me, won’t you?

By the way. These words I’m writing? They’re much more interesting than the “…and then they went to the office, and then they went to kill the demon, and then they…” words I got down last week. Are they perfect? Of course not – this is still a first draft. But they’re getting me closer to “the end” – and that, in the long run, is the only thing that matters.

60K in a month? Bring it on. I am SO there.