I thought I would recap how my week went with the reading deprivation, which I’ve taken to calling “input deprivation” instead, given that’s more to the point. Overall, I would call it a success, though I admit I was unable to eliminate all input entirely. I enjoyed the experience almost as much as I hated it. Monday through Wednesday I went to bed at 8 o’clock out of sheer boredom, and as a result, Tuesday through Thursday I felt better physically than I usually do.
I also got a lot done. I managed to file all of the paperwork that’s been sitting around for a year. I cleaned out my email inbox and organized my contacts on my phone. I painstakingly ripped the seams off a sleeve on a shirt I have to modify and will be doing the other one later today, made a brief outline for a story, drew a picture in my sketchbook, created a character sheet for one of my stories, and, of course, posted a blog update, which puts my total to two for the week! Overall, that’s far more productive than I have been in months.
The downside of it all is that my mood was considerably worse than usual. This could have been because of various outside factors and not related to the input deprivation at all, but the first few days especially were very difficult because my mood was so sour and all I really wanted to do was relax and read, or watch TV, because I find comfort in that. It was sheer stubbornness that had me forcing myself not to do those things.
After experiencing this week, I would say that the importance of limiting input is pretty high. There’s no way I’d ever enjoy cutting it out entirely, or even at half the rate I take things in, but I have resolved to get better at making sure I’m balancing my output vs. input. For example, on weekdays after work, instead of eating dinner and then immediately reading or watching TV, I think what I’ll do instead is make sure that I focus on one thing that is either creative or productive in some way for 30 minutes to an hour, and then I’ll let myself open a book or watch an episode or two of one of my shows. Alternately, I could also just choose one or two days a week in which I don’t have any input at all. That seems far less daunting and painful than a whole week of it.
Final verdict: a good lesson, but not one I’m eager to repeat in its entirety any time soon. I recommend you give it a try if you need to hit your “reset” button.