Reading Deprivation

So, posting from my phone is definitely something I need to get the hang of before I attempt another update again.  I was all set to go on my lunch hour and I had about half of a pretty decent post and then for some reason it didn’t save.  And I also managed to have just a title posted for most of the day, so for any readers that came by and just saw a title, sorry about that.

Moving on to the point of the post.  In the book I mentioned in my first post, The Artist’s Way, I have made it to Week 4.  The main focus for this week is “Reading Deprivation.”  What does that mean?  Well, pretty much exactly what it says.  The idea behind it is that people (especially blocked writers), tend to bury themselves in other people’s words.  This is basically a procrastination method.  One doesn’t have to worry about trying to come up with their own words when they are immersed in the words of others.  The author upholds that, by going through a solid week of reading deprivation you basically jump-start your own creativity.  But that means that you can’t fill the void that not-reading leaves behind with things like television, video games, etc., because those are basically still words that are just in another format.  She also says that a lot of people find this terrifying, and I’m inclined to agree.

My first thought when I read the chapter yesterday was basically, “Pff, yeah, right; I’m not doing that!”  The voice in my head was practically crying out in rage.  “What the heck am I going to do if I can’t read or watch TV in the evenings after work?!”  Well, the answer is whatever I want to do.  “But I WANT to read and watch TV and maybe play video games.  It’s what I DO after work.  It makes me happy,” my little voice yelled.

So I indulged my whiny inner voice last night and I let my brain get as much reading and TV-ing it could handle until I went to bed.  I can honestly say that now I’ve had a little over 24 hours to get used to the idea I’m interested to see how I handle it.  I might have to be-gasp!-a grownup!

You mean, instead of laying on the couch as soon as I get off work, I’ll have to do other things…like actually cook a full meal?  What do you mean I don’t get to say I’m too tired to write now, so I’ll just read?  I’m starting to sense a pattern and the real concept behind the enforced week of reading deprivation.  I spend so much time crowding my mind with all this external stimuli – books, internet, TV shows, video games – that I leave myself very little time to produce anything of my own.

So, throughout the day, despite my little setback with the blog post, instead of the little whiny voice inside my head (crying about what I could possibly do with my time if I have nothing to read) being in control, I’ve had the other voice slowly taking over.  You know the one.  The voice that goes, “Oh, yeah?  Well I bet I can, too, do it.  I’ll do it just fine, and I bet it won’t even be hard.  What do you think about that?!”

Maybe I don’t have to come home and jump right into cooking, Lord knows I don’t like cooking very much at all.  And I’m pretty sure the point isn’t to deprive myself of things I love and do instead things I hate, but rather to use that time of quiet to really reflect on doing something else.

Write a blog update (check).  Maybe crochet something.  Pay the bill I’ve been putting off until absolutely necessary.  Color, doodle, sing a song.  Lord knows I have enough Cosplay items I could be working on.

My challenge to you all, then, is to think about what you can deprive yourself of this week. You don’t have to deprive yourself of all reading if you don’t want to, or all television.  I won’t ask that much of you, because even with my “can, too” voice I’m still feeling a little at sea with this whole deprivation thing.  But definitely give it a thought.  What can you cut out of your life for the week (or, hey, maybe even just a day) to be more present and more self-aware of the thoughts in your head?  I double-dog dare you to try it, and if you manage to be successful with the goal you set yourself, come back and tell me about it in the comments!  In the meantime, wish me luck!

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