The Artist’s Way – Week 4 preview

I am working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron with some friends in the Goddess Circle (link should be in the sidebar). Today starts week 4, of which a major component is the Reading Deprivation exercise. The goal is to get through the week with as little reading as possible. I can read anything that is vital, like street signs, and I can read what is necessary for work. Other than that the goal is not reading, but doing. Reduce input to increase output.

Here are some guidelines I’ve set for myself:

  • Email: I will check my work email once when I get to work, and once before leaving for the day. My personal email I can check slightly more often, but the goal is to handle it as quickly as possible. Anything that is not a quick read, and not urgent, will be archived in a Week 5 file, which I can look at next week.
  • Blogs: I am not allowed to read any blogs. I am allowed to post in my blogs, because writing is allowed this week. If someone comments on one of my blog posts, I will allow myself to accept or decline the comment (but let’s be honest, I don’t decline unless it’s spam).
  • Books, newspapers, magazines: I am not allowed to read any of these. The only exception is that I will allow myself to cut up magazines for collage work, but any articles I am interested in have to wait until next week to read. As a librarian, I usually read a lot. So the “no books” rule is particularly challenging.
  • Work: This is the biggest exception. I am allowed to do work-related things. This is important because part of my job is to look things up for people, so I can’t just not do that. But it’s also that hardest thing because I sit at a computer just about all day, and I have to be very aware of what I’m doing so I am not accidentally sliding into old habits.
  • Facebook and Twitter: I am not allowed on these sites because they are all about input and very little output. I am allowing myself to text message a few people, but I can’t just sit and text for an hour. I can do enough to barely save my sanity from the lack of FB and Twitter, and to encourage friends who may be going through a rough time and need to know that I’m around. And I can text if it’s to regain my determination to get through Reading Dep week (or to help someone else do the same). But I have to be careful and try to limit this too. I even deleted the FB and Twitter apps from my phone to limit temptation. Oh! And my blog posts automatically post to FB and Twitter, so that doesn’t count.

So that sums up what I’m cutting out for this week. What are some ideas about what I can do while I’m not reading?

  • Write blog posts. Beside this one, I am limiting myself to one post each night to give a status report of Reading Dep week, because I think I need the accountability. I can also post if I’m sharing something creative I’ve done, like painting or taking photos.
  • Paint!
  • Take photos!
  • Work on the latch hook white tiger I started in about 2003 and still haven’t gotten ten rows done.
  • Make lists (clearly I’m an instant pro at this one).
  • Clean my apartment.
  • Play board games with my husband.
  • Play solitaire – with real cards, because the computer has too many temptations.
  • Dance.
  • Do a workout video.
  • Listen to music, especially in the car (no more morning talk on the radio, that’s input).
  • Baking/cooking.
  • Get even more chatty with the girls at work. (Is that possible? We’re about to find out!)
  • Pedicure. This one is almost guaranteed to happen.
  • (left blank for possibility)