I’m giving up my mobile phone. Straight up cold turkey, no phased withdrawal or weaning period. It’s powered down and on a window sill under a packet of post-it notes. This may be the smartest or dumbest thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve been kicking this around for months. Coming up with a series of elaborate plans to cut off my 24×7 connection without actually giving it up. I’ve been a junkie making excuses for my next fix.
I don’t need a mobile phone. I do all my work in notebooks or on a laptop. My nearest and dearest always know where I am because I’m a creature of habit. I’d love to say I lead an exciting and dangerously sexy life that needs to be shared at all times but I like to be in bed by ten and femme fatale strike me as demanding. That’s why the mobile phone is going. It’s demanding.
No-one needs a litany of the downside of mobile phones. This isn’t a smug moral lecture like you get from your friend Hannah who’s been vegan for a month and won’t shut the fuck up about it even though she wolfs down bacon sandwiches at 3 am with the lights off. Did you think we couldn’t smell it, Hannah? You reek of brown sauce and fried pig fat.
I’ve got rid of my mobile because I reached a point where I allowed it to stop me doing the things I need to do because I love it when the sneaky little bastard distracts me with the promise of instant gratifcation. Who needs work when you have access to thousands of ways to switch off?
That’s great when you’re working for a massive corporation where, short of killing someone, you’ll get paid no matter what you do. Go to meetings, say ooooh at the right time, take plenty of notes, and you’ll get your cheque at the end of the month.
But when you’re out on your own and no-one will give you money in exchange for obedience you have to stop fucking around or else it’s cardboard living time.
My mobile is a danger to the work I need to do. The novels I have waiting in notebooks, spreadsheets and cloud files are dying because I’m staring at my phone screen waiting for a webpage to load and because I’ve got an iPhone 6plus with its inherent wifi flaw it consumes hours every day.
Fuck. Hours every day. I’ve let that digital bastard distract me for almost two years because I’m frightened of failing at a sustainable full-time writing career. I’ve hidden from the hard work by consuming forgettable information I’ve convinced myself will be useful in the future rather than getting the real work done.
It’s not the phones fault. It’s only metal, plastic and glass but it’s an access point to an easy escape from finding out if I can do this or not. It’s information overload and too many choices at a time when I need clarity and focus. So it’s gone.
Instead, I’ll keep fifty pence in my pocket with a tiny map of public phones whenever I go out; I’ll give people my landline number (I’m paying for the fucking thing I may as well use it) and use the time I get back to find out to do what feels write.