Last August, I took a weeklong Internet Vacation. I stayed away from email, the web, Twitter, Facebook, pretty much the whole nine yards for an entire week, and it was wonderful. It’s not that I don’t love the social interactions. It’s just that sometimes, you can get too much of a good thing and need a break. I’m feeling that need again and it has been growing over the last several week. I usually take an Internet vacation on my birthday, but this year, I felt I needed something a little more. So I’ve decided to take the last two weeks of March off, a time that includes my birthday.
From Sunday, March 17 through Saturday, March 30 inclusive, I will be away from the Internet.
Now, there are some caveats:
1. Blog posts. Over the years, this blog has built up (much to my surprise) a large and wonderful audience. There are plenty of blogs that I read and on the days when there is no content, I’m bummed. Don’t worry, I won’t let you down. There will be one new post each day that I am on vacation. I have already started writing the posts. I’ll get them scheduled before March 17 and then those posts will appear at their scheduled times while I am enjoying my time away from the Internet. Each post will be prefaced with a reminder that I am on an Internet vacation.
2. Going Paperless posts. My Internet vacation covers 2 Tuesdays, which means 2 Going Paperless posts. Both posts are part of the pre-scheduled posts that I am writing beforehand, so folks who look forward to these posts on Tuesdays won’t have to worry about missing them.
3. Tweets. I use Buffer to schedule tweets, mostly as reminders for things that I have posted. I will preschedule a bunch of tweets before I go on vacation so you will still see tweets from me. Remember that I am not actually tweeting in realtime. These tweets will all have been composed ahead of time and will be scheduled, just like the blog posts. However, I won’t be reading tweets or looking at Twitter while I am on my Internet vacation.
4. Email. I may or may not check email during this vacation. As much as I’d like to avoid it completely for two weeks, various freelancing obligations make that almost impossible. My email will have an auto-responder turned on reminding folks that I am on an Internet vacation. If I do check email and see something important, I may respond. But keep in mind that checking email is entirely optional during this vacation. If I can resist the temptation, I may go days without checking.
5. Blog comments. We have good discussions on the blog. And I encourage those discussions to continue in my absence. Keep in mind, however, that I won’t be participating in them until after I am back from my Internet Vacation. Once I’m back, I’ll do my best to catch up on them.
6. Facebook. I’ll be completed away from Facebook. The only thing you’ll see from me there are the notifications of my blog posts that are automatically created when the posts are published.
One thing I’ll mention is that my editorial in the June Analog will likely start to arrive in people’s mailboxes and Kindles toward the end of my Internet Vacation. I’d normally post and tweet announcements of this, but I’m going to hold off until I am back from my Vacation. I’ll just mention it here as a reminder that it’s coming.
I’ll post a finally reminder on Saturday, March 16, and then I’ll be gone.
So what will I do while I’m on my vacation? Relax a little. I don’t know if people realize it but I write about 300,000 words worth of blog posts each year. I generally do them same-day or scheduled a day or two ahead of time. It will be nice to relax from that pace for a few weeks. Last time I took an Internet Vacation, I found that I got back 2-3 hours a day to focus on other things. I’ll probably use some of that time just to chill out. I’m also in the midst of writing a novella and would like to spend more time attacking that in earnest. But mostly, the sense of distance, then sense of not feeling compelled to check email or Twitter or any of it, that alone is relaxing and I look forward to it.
In the meantime, I’ll be around as usual until March 17 so you’ve got about 10 days to get in touch with me if you need something from me before the end of the month. I will work hard to clear my decks before my Internet vacation so that I don’t have any outstanding emails and the like when I finally sign off. But if there is anything urgent or pressing, you’ve got 10 days to let me know.