unplugged

How often do you check your email? Once a day? Every hour?

I’m ashamed to admit this, but when my laptop’s open and I’m working on a story, I’m likely to visit my inbox every 15 minutes. My excuse is logical on the surface: I have over twenty submissions floating around in cyberspace and the sooner I know their status the better. But the truth of the matter is I shouldn’t need to visit my Hotmail account more than once a day to stay in the loop.

My wife and I spent this past week at our family estate (a two-bedroom) on Sebec Lake, visiting my dad and grandmother. There was no WiFi, no cell phone service, and we didn’t bring our laptops. We swam, kayaked, read good books, and napped. While I wondered what might be waiting for me at home, I didn’t miss the constant compulsion to check my email throughout the day. Instead, my pace of life slowed; I listened to loon calls and watched clouds scroll lazily across the sky.

When I returned home, I plugged myself back in. My inbox contained three rejections and one acceptance. Ty Drago at Allegory said, “Your tale is a GREAT piece, and I'm very sorry that we can't use it.” David Hughes said, “All of the editors at Electric Spec enjoyed your story and we encourage you to try us again.” Bailey Hunter said, “Your work has caught our attention, and so we hope you will continue to consider Dark Recesses.” Rob McEvily at Six Sentences said, “Love this, Milo! It'll debut Saturday the 21st.”

So here’s my obvious point: I don’t need to be checking my email every hour—or even every day. Once a week should do the trick.

The rest of the time, I’ll be writing.