It’s easy *not* to blog

Was it easy for you to be offline?

I’ve been asked that question several times in the past 24 hours. The suggestion in the question is that I must have experienced some major withdrawal, which, I’ll admit, is a valid assumption: I’ve lived online since the days when “online” meant a CompuServe account. I do a big percentage of my business communication via email or IM or a company intranet. I communicate with my children (who are away at school) via iSight/iChat or IM. So the assumption is I can’t walk away from all that ubiquitous connectivity.

Well, I can.

Indeed, as a friend once told me, it’s easy not to do something.

It’s easy not to keep up with what’s taking place in the world or in your industry or in your community or neighborhood. Not using a newsreader is easy. It’s almost as easy as not reading a newspaper or watching CNN or listening to NPR.

I can find lots of “offline” things to do that I find fulfilling, enlightening, rewarding and fun — in other words, boring to many of my easily-distracted-by-shiny-objects friends on the blogosphere, businessosphere, twitterosphere, blackberryosphere, etcosphere. I enjoyed every moment of boredom I could muster. Indeed, I found the boredom inspiring. One of the things I did while offline was read Walter Isaacson’s wonderful new biography of Albert Einstein. During a speech in 1933, Einstein said this: “The monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” It helped that I was reading that part of the book while I was completely offline and unplugged and mellowed by boredom and listening to light-classical music in the background. I was on some boredom high — a boredom zone — and suddenly Einstein was providing me his theory on why I was giddy from pruning tomato vines.

I could probably go for months not doing stuff online. But all that boredom stimulated lots of creative thoughts that have made me really happy to be back today in (and on) my “real” world. Back online. Being not offline.

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  • It may be easy for you to not be online.
    But if I may speak for the entire blogosphere, it’s very difficult for us when you’re not online.
    We missed you. Welcome back

  • Hudge

    I find the “boredom” of doing some kind of simple labor, like cleaning the patio with a pressure washer or cutting down over-large weeds with a swingblade or sawing up deadfall or low-hanging branches remarkably refreshing. Part of it is the narrowed focus to the next sweep of wand or whack of pokeberry bush or approach to a heavy limb, and part of it is the immediate connection of cause and effect. You notice more about the immediate environment and find there is more to notice (Robert Pirsig wrote about this in the classic “doing boring stuff to find enlightenment” book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.) I don’t even listen to iPod or Walkman much when doing this kind of thing, because the sounds, from bird calls to Jake brakes, are a part of the environment.