When Reading is Bad

by Barbara Martin

in Creative Juice, Creativity, How to Tips, Motivation & Inspiration

Reading deprivation is the infamous main event during Week 4 of The Artist’s Way program, based on the iconic book by Julia Cameron. The thing about reading and other similar inputs we add to fill up our lives — such as internet browsing, on-line media consumption, listening to talk radio, mindless television viewing, overly long, rambling phone calls or yes, let’s include endless twittering — is that these activities distract us from our inner thoughts, and often serve as both a break from and a brake on creativity.

How to Dull Your Creativity

One interesting aspect to reading all the time, or watching television, or whatever it is you happen to do to dull your mind, is that it separates us from the world going on all around us. We check out; we are distanced and insulated and oblivious. We make sure there is nothing to spark our creativity.

When we numb our minds by being so dully occupied, we install an automatic block on our creativity. When the mind is ostensibly busy-busy-busy who has the time to think, let alone time to be creative?

And gee whiz, let’s be honest, these are all prime ways to procrastinate.

No Reading! No Substitutes! No Cheating!

You might still be ummm, resistant shall we say, to the overall concept of not reading for an entire week. If you are a voracious reader like me, this sounds like a punitive sentence to unadulterated living hell. I get that!

Cameron essentially says to get over it, suck it up, and just do it. Sounds harsh, but that’s the bottom line. As always, she has her reasons for telling you to do this. And I’m suggesting you give it a fair shot.

And I’ll remind you to be careful about noticing how you fill your time: notice if you resort to non-reading but equally distractive and mind numbing activities such as surfing the internetz, or watching old sit-coms. Ban them ALL for this week!

Get Ready to be Creative

What’s the payoff? Remove the block, and prepare to be astounded at all the many other ways you will find to spend your time!

Cameron mentions chores and activities as varied as wash the dog, write to old friends, knit or sew, fix up or repair something, clean closets, work out, cook, meditate, invite friends to dinner… But then what?

You are a creative person. Eventually, sooner or later, you will most likely find yourself something darned interesting to do. I promise!

(If you need a few tips, here are a few suggestions for jumpstarting your creativity right now.)

You’ll Find Over 30 Additional Artist’s Way related posts at Reptitude! (Assuming you are in fact supposed to be reading this week…)

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