The Artist’s Way: Reading Deprivation

August 3, 2015

I am currently on week four of the The Artist’s Way, and this week’s big task is the reading deprivation. The reading deprivation is exactly what it sounds like: no reading. For seven days.


I am on day four and have officially hit the wall. I am so bored. I might be dying from boredom. It’s possible.

So the thing about no reading is that it’s not just books, which is bad enough, really. The whole point of the reading deprivation is to not fill up on other people’s words. Here are the things she lists in the book that should be avoided:

  • novels and newspapers (obviously)
  • TV
  • gossipy conversations
  • radio

Why? Because “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” (pg. 87).

I CANNOT EVEN ARGUE WITH THAT. I am a book/reading junkie. Here’s what I have given up for the week:

  • Books in all forms (including audiobooks)
  • Facebook/Twitter/other social media
  • Feedly/blogs
  • The news in all forms
  • Podcasts
  • Music with words (which I didn’t think counted, but my friend said totally counts)
  • Online shopping
  • TV (including Jeopardy and reality competitions, which I didn’t think counted, but my daughter said totally counts)
  • Movies (Netflix or theater or otherwise)
  • Calling tech support to figure out why my TiVo didn’t survive the move from one room to the other

I am also checking my email the most minimum of amounts.

(When I told my mom I was going to write a blog post, she asked if I could do that. YES, MOTHER, I CAN WRITE WHATEVER I WANT. I just have to avoid reading other people’s stuff!) (You can see how I am a little on edge.)

Anyway, this fast is super hard! It was easier giving up Facebook and Twitter for Lent (of course, I could still read other stuff then) than to go one week without ALL OF MY BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL WORDS.

On the plus side, I have gotten some stuff done. My room is now almost all the way clean. I managed to finally hang up my undergrad degree on the wall (it took 20 minutes, tops, and my parents got it framed for me for Christmas. I am aware that it is August. THIS IS WHAT AVOIDING READING DOES TO A PERSON). I helped my mom figure out Facebook–something I had been telling her I would help her with forever. Does that count as breaking my deprivation? Not really because (a) something that needed to be done and (b) showing her how to upload files and check messages and post to FB doesn’t really help me read my newsfeed.

Tomorrow, I’m going to organize one (or both) of my bookshelves. I may gather up the stuff I need to drop off at Goodwill. There is plenty to do when there is no reading to be done!

Anyway, yes, I am reaping the benefits. Not only is my room clean, but I have gained a surprising amount of clarity about certain things in my life–especially as they relate to my creativity. Yes, I am spending more time with my inner self. Yes, I have discovered the beauty of film scores on Songza. Blah blah blah. IT’S GREAT.

Can it be Thursday now?

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  1. Vasilly

    I love the new look!

    Since you’re banned from reading, that means you can’t even read your blog comments! Even though you’re bored sometimes, it sounds like you’re getting a lot of things done. Good luck in making it to Thursday. 🙂

  2. Jennifer @ A Librarian's Library

    Wow, you are a brave soul. I can understand why this would be beneficial, but at this point in my life I just couldn’t do that. To deprive myself of reading is to deprive myself of sanity.

    Only two more days until Thursday! 🙂


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