Monday, March 4, 2013

Unplugged and Recharged!

Before I became a published author and business owner, I used my computer for emails and writing. And, in my former life as an ESL teacher to adults, my lack of tech knowledge always prompted a lot of laughter from my savvy students. I didn't know how to download or upload and once mistakenly gave an entire class a porn site to peruse instead of the prepositions they were supposed to practise. But, when I started Perfect Pen Communications, my freelance writing/editing business, and published Finding Lucas, I realized that I needed an online presence. Enter Twitter, Facebook and a whole new world.

At first, I tweeted like a spammer and wasn't quite sure what it meant to like and share with "friends." But I quickly learned how to promote myself and connect with people through the World Wide Web (do people still call it that?) In fact, you might even say I became addicted to the clicking. And I've been lucky enough to get to know an amazing group of authors, readers and bloggers through my newfound love of online communication. So, when I had to unplug for a week because my family and I were going to the Dominican Republic, I panicked.

Would my readers disappear because I was gone for a week? And how would I survive without the daily emails and comments from my Twitter and Facebook friends? Would it be like I'd never existed if I shut down my computer? But, I was also excited to spend serious quality time with my family. Not just my husband and kids, but my parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. And I was intrigued by the challenge. Could I actually go a whole day without checking my sales ranks?

The moment the plane touched down in the sunny, steaming hot Dominican Republic, I instantly relaxed. I'd been hunched over a computer for so long that my chin automatically dropped to my chest whenever I sat down. And by the time I'd downed the first of many tropical drinks while swimming with my kids, running through the surf and watching the sun set from my balcony Jacuzzi, my online world was a pleasant memory. Every second with my family was spent smiling (well, except for the few kid meltdowns), and I moved, talked and breathed more slowly than I had in so long.

Now, I did check my email once or twice at night after the kids were asleep. But I didn't respond. And I didn't buy the WIFI access that would enable me to have Internet in my room. I truly unplugged and recharged, and I have come home a different person. For a few more days, I'll be calmer and less stressed. What will last is how appreciative I am of the awesome people I have in my life. And the incredible reviews for Finding Lucas that I came back to have also put a massive smile on my slightly tanned face. I am now a darker shade of pale.

I did miss my online friends, and I can't wait to hear how everyone's doing. And yes, I've already checked the sales rank and reviews for Finding Lucas. But, I now know that I can leave my computer and revel in my life that my exists away from it. And I can come back better with a renewed energy.

So, if you haven't yet unplugged and taken a break from the computer craziness that consumes us, especially us authors, do it. Because it's okay to shut down once in a while even if it's only to take a nap. Everything will still be there when you come back.

28 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you're back, Sam! And I laughed when I saw that you had already written a blog post on your first day back online. Hee! I applaud you for being able to unplug and really enjoy your vacay with the family. I'm not as strong as you. I can go on vacation and enjoy myself, but I get twitchy without my computer and internet access. I'm so used to filling all those "empty" moments (when I'm eating meals, when I'm watching TV and there's a commercial, when I'm on hold on the phone, etc.) with social media, e-mails, Amazon sales checks, etc. that I feel a bit frantic when I can't. Yes, you guessed it, I don't know how to relax. Type A personality all the way, baby! :) :)

    Can't wait to hear more about your trip and to see a photo of you with this alleged "tan." :)

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    1. I might be the only one to see the tan, but I know it's there. :) I never thought I could do it, but I so wanted just to be with my family. I did check once or twice, but I was so relaxed not clicking away every second! But, what am I doing now? Clicking away. :)

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    2. Hilarious post! And timely - I'm going to be facing the same thing later this month when I go to the UK. I'm definitely not going to be dragging my laptop around. Good to have you back though, Sam. Definitely missed your presence. :-)

      (Still laughing about how you linked a porn site for your class...)

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  2. I'm so glad you got to relax! Each summer I take my kids on a road trip and the only computer time I allow myself is to check email at night - and to post my blog of the day (I blogg about our roadtrips) and that's it! It's sooo liberating!

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    1. Allie, I love that you blog about road trips with the kids. It was so liberating and wonderful to just be with my family. How far do you drive on these trips?

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    2. Last summer...6500 miles in 41 days! Seventeen states and two Canadian Provinces. We don't mess around!

      http://roadwarriormomma.blogspot.com/

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    3. Oh my God. I'm off to read your blog, Allie.

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  3. Welcome back, Sam! We missed you! :) I'm glad you had a good time with your family. I can barely stay away from Amazon and Goodreads for an afternoon so I think it's awesome that you went an entire week without checking stats. Will you be posting pictures of your fun in the sun? :)

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    1. Private pics for you. :) I missed you, too, Cat!

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  4. I think it's great that you actually unplugged and just enjoyed the time with your family. I think it's so important for all of us to do that now and then - even though it's hard!

    The jacuzzi on the balcony sounds fabulous! Sounds like a great vaca. Glad you are back though. Missed you! :)

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    1. The hotel room was bigger than my house! Crazy! It was so wonderful. But, now I'm overdosing on Internet. :) I missed you, too!

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  5. Welcome home, Sam! I'm glad you had a great time and were able to unplug and recharge! If the way I check my sparkly new Facebook author page and Goodreads page, I'm in trouble when it comes to sales stats and reviews in a few short weeks!

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    1. Thanks, Lydia! Checking those stats becomes an obsession. But at least we're all in this together!

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  7. You were definitely missed, Sam! Hope you enjoyed your time with your family! I may take your advice and unplug from the world when this semester is over! Hope to hear from you soon!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Josie Ann! Yes, unplug and take a break! I can't wait until your book is out!

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  8. Welcome back! You'll have to head to my neck of the woods (Grand Cayman) next time your in the Caribbean.

    Great advice! Comes at the perfect time. I need to unplug for a couple of weeks, tackle neglected tasks, and spend time with family.

    So glad you got time to unwind. So important.

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    1. I would love to visit Grand Cayman, Elke! Spending time with my family without the distraction of the Internet was amazing. They're what really matters.

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  9. Samantha, haven't you heard? While you were gone, the Sun exploded. You missed your chance to back-up all of your files including your blog and your book. By midnight tonight, everything will be lost and your life will be over. You should think twice before spending quality time with your family! A vacation? What were you THINKING?!?!?

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  10. Welcome back! I'm glad you had a great time on your vacation. It's so hard to stay away from the computer when you're used to having instant access and updates to everything. I'm glad you were able to unplug for a little while!

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  11. Nice blog! Sounds like a great vacation and much-needed rest. Being the mom of young children, you need a vacation, writing or no. You earned every one of those pina coladas!

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  12. Thanks so much, Eileen! And you are so right. A vacation from the every day craziness was so needed, and I've come home a little bit calmer and a lot more appreciative. I miss the drinks, though. :)

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  13. How the hell am I only seeing this now?! Well I guess you had to be with your family, warming your toes in the sand, chugging fruity cocktails, but the sun is definitely shining brighter (or maybe it's my screen) now that you're back! You were missed!

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  14. Samantha,
    I'm glad you had some down time. I've been to Dominican Republic and I loved it, aren't the beaches and sand beautiful there?
    I'm going away for Spring Break and I'm shutting it down, I need a break from social media for a few days. I'm glad to know in advance that everything will be here when I return.
    I'm glad you had a fun time and that you're recharged.

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Elizabeth. You are such a huge supporter of fellow authors. The white sand, crystal clear water...oh, I want to go back! It was such a blissful time. Have an amazing Spring Break. You'll come back renewed!

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  15. So odd but I just saw this now. A little (lot) bit late but welcome home :)

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