By Jess Henderson
160 pages, softcover, $19.99
Published by Laurence King
It starts when we wake up and it barely ends when we get into bed. Creatives are shackled to screens. From bosses to clients, there’s an expectation that everything we turn in as work product will have that screen sheen to it—fully executed, versus scribbles that may actually contain more gold idea-wise. In her book Offline Matters: The Less-Digital Guide to Creative Work, technology author Jess Henderson encourages creatives to unplug and get real. After all, as Henderson says, “Life is an offline platform.” As signs of a nondigital existence, she lists abandoned grocery lists, hidden notes on bar coasters and the unforeseen delight of a message written on a wall.
Henderson posits that regular breaks from screen time spark the imagination and free creatives from the automatic task of always having to see a project through. She writes: “Creating with immediacy and spontaneity frees one up to do what fits and what makes sense to the situation, right now. By thinking on the spot and avoiding overconsideration, we also dodge the doubt that typically creep [sic] in when given time.”
The book is written as more of an instruction manual or collection of essays than a linear narration. It’s possible to pick up at any point and avail yourself of her suggestions and justifications for unplugging. For those of us who remember life without screens, it’s a reminder of those romantic, Hemingwayesque days when we scribbled ideas on cocktail napkins. Not a bad thing at all. —Julie Prendiville Roux