One of the tasks for Week 4 of the Artist's Way is reading deprivation. I'm not supposed to be reading at all.
The theory, as best I understand it, is that a lot of people use reading as a distraction and as an anaesthetic to dull their own emotional pain. I know that's true of me.
Julia Cameron writes that this is a task that creates a lot of resistance and animosity in people when she suggests it. She says people always have excuses why they can't do what she suggests. For example, "I'm an important business executive and I have to read reports."
Her answer to that is procrastinate.
Well, I can't do that. I don't exactly feel animosity toward the suggestion. I just don't see it as completely practical. On my current assignment, most of what I'm doing is editing online so I won't have to read very much (except for re-reading and editing my own words, which I don't think counts). However, I may have to do a little research reading in the course of my job, and I refuse to procrastinate that. It's not really fair to the people who've hired me to meet tight deadlines if I decide to put off certain tasks just because I'm doing this program of creative exploration.
Other than that one exception, though, I am going to be as true to this self-imposed discipline as I can. I started Saturday, and through the end of the day Friday, I will not be reading newspapers, magazines, catalogs, poems, novels, prayer books, the Bible, Internet articles, blogs, discussion forums, or Wikipedia.
I've caught myself a couple of times forgetting and starting to read something, but I stopped quickly.
I'm not sure at all if this experiment is going to have the intended effect. Some other things happened this weekend that required a lot of emotional energy, so I haven't really been tracking the impact of not reading. Maybe it's cumulative, though, and I'll notice more as I go along.