I NEEDED THIS BREAK
My phone has become too demanding, forever pinging me and flashing up stuff I don't need. It never leaves me alone. It's like being in a very intense relationship. It wants too much from me.
I'M AN ADDICT
At first I certainly behaved like one. I kept hovering over my still, dead laptop, longing to activate it once more. My hands actually twitched more than once. Surely five minutes wouldn't matter, just so that I could check there weren't any important messages demanding an immediate reply. Every time I was tempted I immediately went off for a short walk. I took more exercise on my first gadget-free day than I have for years.
I MISS GOOGLE MORE THAN MY FRIENDS
A shocking thing to write but sort of true. Hardly an hour goes by when I don't need to google up something. Trust me, there are no substitutes. And it's incredibly frustrating.
I LOVE RECEIVING LETTERS
Some friends send me postcards - charmingly retro ones too - adding to the feeling I am living in a time warp. Two even write letters. Reading them was such a pleasure. I reply to them almost instantly. It's as if a secret part of myself is released again. I remember the long letters I wrote in my late teens. I suspect very few contemporary teenagers do this now. Have they just found other ways to express themselves? But surely no email can compare with the special value of a handwritten letter.
PHONES ARE ANTI-SOCIAL
One evening, to show solidarity with me, my friends all leave their phones at home. Instead, we reconnect with that most ancient technology called having a conversation. All around us people are chatting - while answering calls, texting, glancing at Twitter and Facebook, and in the case of a group of teenagers, taking pictures the whole time.
Is this really progress?
I HAVE BECOME MORE CREATIVE
I'm working on a first draft, which I always do by hand - aiming for at least 1,000 words a day. This week, after an early wobble on Day One I've found my concentration has improved hugely and I've got far more writing done than normal, almost double in fact.
BEING BORED IS GOOD FOR ME
I have a mind that is constantly seeking distraction. Being focused doesn't come naturally to me. So checking the latest Twitter storm (and there's a new one every two minutes) and my Amazon rankings (every author does it) and … well the list is endless. The point is they are things I have done almost without realising.
And they have certainly left a gap.
But now I start to see how they stopped me thinking long enough about anything. One of the worst aspects of the Internet is the way it encourages you to have speedy, instant opinions. If you are not careful you are constantly reacting. Stepping away has made for a quieter, more boring week - but it has yielded real compensations too, like 'living in the moment.' That sounds such a New Age cliché. But it doesn't stop it being true.
IT HAS MADE ME NOSTALGIC FOR MY CHILDHOOD
I grew up in a household where there was just one phone and we weren't supposed to be on that for very long, in case 'someone important' needed to call my parents.
So I have thought more about my childhood over this past week than I have for years.
Am I just on a nostalgic kick then? That's what my nephew thinks. He has never known a world without electronic gadgets. This experiment would be so much harder for him. Does that limit the value of my experience this week? Am I just regressing to a simpler time? I'm still not sure.
I'VE WALKED AND READ MORE
At first I took walks to release my frustration at being gadget free. Soon they became a daily ritual. I even looked forward to them. They are a great way of reducing stress.
I've always loved reading. But so often, especially with the long opinion pieces in newspapers, I've skimmed them. This week I've had the time to read more reflectively. This is another habit I want to keep.
MY PHONE AND I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
The detox is over. But now I am setting limits. I shall have at least one internet-free day a week, rising to two soon. As I know I can live - and indeed thrive without it. So from now on, our relationship will be so different - and totally on my terms.