Week 4, Day 7 of The Artist's Way
Today, let's practice not distracting ourselves to further invite creativity to flow.
If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation.
It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well.
Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world. With no newspaper to shield us, a train becomes a viewing gallery. With no novel to sink into (and no television to numb us out) an evening becomes a vast savannah in which furniture—and other assumptions—get rearranged.
Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence.
If we monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum, we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation with embarrassing speed. Our reward will be a new outflow. Our own art, our own thoughts and feelings, will begin to nudge aside the sludge of blockage, to loosen it and move it upward and outward until once again our well is running freely.
Reading deprivation is a very powerful tool—and a very frightening one. Even thinking about it can bring up enormous rage. 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.
Even at the safe remove of the written word, I can feel the shock waves of antagonism about trying this tool. I will tell you that those who have most resisted it have come back the most smugly rewarded for having done it. The nasty bottom line is this: sooner or later, if you are not reading, you will run out of work and be forced to play. You’ll light some incense or put on an old jazz record or paint a shelf turquoise, and then you will feel not just better but actually a little excited.
Don’t read. If you can’t think of anything else to do, cha-cha.
(Yes, you can read and do this week’s tasks.)
(The Artist's Way, 2016, p. 87-89)
I can hear the inner voice of my artist's inspiration.
If you can’t think of anything else to do, cha-cha.
If you break your reading deprivation, write about how you did it. In a tantrum? A slipup? A binge? How do you feel about it? Why?
“We are always doing something, talking, reading, listening to the radio, planning what next. The mind is kept naggingly busy on some easy, unimportant external thing all day.”
– BRENDA UELAND
What is one type of information you use to distract yourself from your sensory world?
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