Sweet Spot of the ScreensaverI imagine there are those out there who don’t bother with screensavers at all on their personal computers, while others probably set them at 2-3 minutes of inactivity to log off. Yes, there are factors of security, location, and material in the personal computer that affect when we set the screen to lock. But what’s your sweet spot? How much time do you allot yourself to sit without a keystroke before the screen changes?

Mine is 20 minutes. In 20 minutes’ time, I should have latched onto an idea enough that I’m typing away. I may not know where it’s going, or if the idea will get off the ground, but I’m usually typing.

I gave this a good amount of thought when I first arranged the settings on the computer. It’s strange to think of something like the screensaver as a writing tool, but I suppose we adapt to whatever’s at hand. Personally, ticking timers are an interference, and buzzers are too jarring for me. Perhaps I need lull.

Sometimes imagination springs to life right away, and I’m off and running, so to speak. And the screensaver doesn’t come into play at all. Other times, I pause and reread again and again because something doesn’t feel right, and in those times, the screensaver acts as an annoying reminder that I’m just staring. Many, many times I have said, “Hey! I was looking at that,” when no one is in the room.

And in the off chance that in 20 minutes I’m not typing but lost in a daydream, the sudden flicker of the screen is enough to pull me back to the present, back to the work at hand. In this business, it’s important to give yourself time, which includes time to muse.

The screensaver is just a small detail, perhaps an “elementary detail, Watson,” but it says a lot about the person at the controls. What does yours say about you?

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see JodyBrown.com/writing.