Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's Reading Deprivation Week at My House

Tonight, I'm starting my second-annual participation in a self-imposed Reading Deprivation Week — a practice originally described/prescribed in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. To better reflect humankind's current state of distractability, Cameron now calls the exercise Media Deprivation Week, and that makes perfect sense. But I am attached to the original title, so . . . there.

What this means for me this week:

No reading or other media consumption beyond what I truly need to do for work and/or to survive. For example, I will read STOP signs while driving. But. No TV, no movies. No talk radio. No podcasts or YouTube videos or audiobooks. No web surfing. No listening to music with lyrics or spending time on nonessential emails. No social media.

Yikes!!!! What's the big idea here, anyway?

Well, the idea is to limit your exposure to the very external influences that clog your brain, take up your valuable time, and get between you and your creative output. Yes, reading is good. But the truth is that sometimes the habitual act of reading the daily news or even great LITrachoor can cause enough of a disconnect between you and your creative self to effectively break down your creative process, leaving you less creatively productive than you could be (at a minimum) or — gasp! — completely creatively BLOCKED (at the maximum)!

Cameron says,  "For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own."

Reading Deprivation Week helps dampen the excess noise so you can hear yourself think and get back to doing what YOU do.

I know from last year's experience that this exercise is difficult at first but then quickly becomes comfortable. Enjoyable, even. The rewards far outweigh any perceived sacrifices. I've actually been wanting to do Round 2 of this for a few months, but one thing or another has made me save it ("save it," I said, not "put it off"!) for the right time.

Turns out, this coming week is perfect for me, and it. I look forward to embracing Deprivation and seeing exactly how it fills me up.

Please do check this space for check-ins throughout the week. I don't know how many times I'll squawk, but I will be sure to post any blog updates to Twitter and Facebook using simple shares that do not involve my engagement. (In other words, I will post and run!) Please feel free to discuss any of it among yourselves in the comments this week. And I'll answer any questions you ask me next week.

And now, without further ado . . .

Let Reading Deprivation Week begin!


jaylen watkins said...

Interesting reading experience with out saying.


Girl on the Front Porch said...

WOW, a true exercise in mind over matter... love to know how your week of deprivation turned out! My existence depends on the written word so for me this would be adifficult decision.

Lisa said...

Girl on the Front Porch, it is a tough one to commit to! I'm hoping to do a follow-up post on the experience this week.