Oh the HORROR! The HORROR!  I just finished reading Chapter 4 of The Artist’s Way (which, if you are a regular blog reader, you know I am working through), and found out that one of the week’s assignments is TO GIVE UP READING FOR A WEEK!!!

The rationale behind this exercise is sound.  Cameron says that blocked creatives often use reading as an escape from their own creativity, as a “tranquilizer” of sorts.  The idea is to get out of other people’s thoughts and creations and into your own. Maybe, if I don’t read for a week, I might even *gasp* WRITE!

So, after a good bout of keening on the floor in great likeness to Rain Man in the “Hot Water Burn Baby” scene, I managed to pull myself together in order to write this post.

This will be the longest I’ve gone, in living memory, without picking up a book.  It’s like cutting off a limb.  Reading is like breathing to me.  How many more melodramatic statements can I make?

What does this have to do with you?  Not much unless you live within screaming distance, except that this reading deprivation exercise has to include blogs.  So if I normally read and comment on your blogs, I want you to know why I will be AWOL for a week.  It’s not because I don’t love you; it’s because I’m being subjected to something far worse than Chinese water torture.

I will still be checking my own blog comments, email and Facebook in order to manage administration for the 12 x 12 in 2012 writing challenge, so please feel free to continue signing up for that!  I will also post on my blog, because I figure that’s writing, not reading.  Right?  Right.

Okay.  I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself right…. NOW.


Have you ever had to go for an extended amount of time without reading?  How did that work out for you?

Categories: Books, Social Media, The Artist's Way, Writing · Tags: , , , ,



  1. Oh my stars. You have my sympathy. (Maybe I don’t want to try again to work through The Artist’s Way, after all!)

    I haven’t had to go through reading-deprivation for that extended a time period, but I do remember that when I was recovering at home from a broken pelvis, and about all I could do was read, I actually got tired of reading. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I don’t recommend that as a method of making it feel easier to quit reading, though.

    Good luck with the next week. I suppose that if holiday cards come in the mail, you’ll just set them aside? Tricky time of year to do without reading.

  2. I admire you for taking this so seriously. Take care, and I’m sure you’ll come back all the stronger!

  3. Oh, wow! I’m pretty sure I would fail that assignment! Good luck, and I hope that creativity flows out of your fingertips this week! 🙂

  4. Yikes, I definitely didn’t try this when I read the book years ago! But after the last month of falling into the rabbit hole of reading wonderful blogs linked to other links, etc., I can absolutely imagine how effective a strategy it would be to not read, just write. I guess sometimes we just need to draw a line and do it! I know many writers who simply write first thing in the morning, followed by reading whatever, later in the day when they’re creative juices slow down their running. I may try that. Good luck!

  5. Oh dear, ‘their’ … lol!

  6. Great post thanks. I really enjoyed it very much.

    Love writing? We would love for you to join us!

    Writers Wanted

  7. I’m impressed that you’re going to do it! I’ve discovered this for myself, though. If I have a really good, absorbing book to read, I’m much more likely to read in spare time than write, so I think the rationale is sound and you will really gain from not reading for a week. Even though it will be incredibly hard 🙂 Good luck! And focus on how much writing you’ll get done instead. The week will be up before you know it 🙂

  8. I let my email go for a week and came back to 150 WordPress posts I had to wade through. It took me six hours. My sympathies!

    • Well, I’m going to solve that problem by clearing my Google Reader down to zero and start fresh when I get back. Otherwise, I’d spend the whole week panicking about how much I’ll have to read when the week is over – which I suspect would defeat the purpose.

  9. Cameron wrote the book in 1992 before internet usage became so prevalent.

    If you really want to honor the spirit of the exercise . . . you should do a complete Internet fast for a week, Julie. No reading or writing on blogs . . . including comments to you.

    No cruising around on Facebook. No e-mails. No iphone, smart phone, etc.

    • Nancy, you are no doubt right. I am only allowing myself my blog, Facebook, and email. That’s because I just launched a writing challenge and need to be able to approve people for admin. And I figure writing blog posts is writing. However, I am not going on Twitter, nor am I going to read any other blogs. I just emptied my Google Reader so I wouldn’t be tempted.

      But I PROMISE I will not “cruise” around on FB – just check it for admin stuff. 😉

  10. I am chuckling. You just might discover how much you enjoy the quiet from your busy activities — especially blogging etc.. Reading and not waching movies or TV may be a tough. It will interesting to hear what you discover about yourself during the week. I hope you are inspired to get some writing done. Will look forward to your next post. I spent most of two weeks in silence at a retreat in Brazil years ago, and it was hard at first. I loved the quiet and found it a relief from my busy life. I could only journal. It was very much about learning to be in the moment and listening from within, I hope you are surprised and find it an adventure!

  11. Don’t worry. We’ll be around when you finish the assignment. I loved that first picture. .. still smiling about it.

  12. ohhh I feel your pain. the internet would be deadly for me. and to go without a book? No way!!! Good luck. it will be interesting to see what you learn from this time of deprivation.

  13. Just reading this gave me a small heart attack. Reading relaxes me each evening and I don’t think I could give it up for anything. The rationale behind the exercise is definitely sound, but I wouldn’t have the willpower! If you can do this, you are my hero!

  14. Even though this makes you nervous, Julie, I’ll bet you also find you’re more focused this week because you’ll have no distractions. Good luck. I’ll be thinking of you and I think I’ll try this out in January.

    Oh, you’re such a great Artist’s Way role model for me. 🙂

  15. I’ll be fascinated to read your thoughts about what you experienced with a week without reading. I can see the point. Certainly, I can. I don’t think I’ll be joining you anytime soon, though. As a school librarian I read aloud to children for a living. If I gave up reading for a week it would have to be during the summer.

    So I’m living vicariously here. Looking forward to the revelations.

  16. I love Cameron’s theory, “blocked creatives often use reading as an escape from their own creativity, as a “tranquilizer” of sorts.” — this is so true. But I can’t stop reading for a week. Impossible! I would go insane.

    Good luck this week, Julie! See you in a week 🙂

  17. I read the book and followed through all the assignment, but I defined reading in my own terms. I didn’t read for pleasure. But my brain and my eyes wouldn’t stop reading. I ended up spending a lot of time in the kitchen reading the ingredients on boxes and read every pamphlet that comes in the Tampax box. The assignment also made driving tough because I wanted to read every sign I passed. I decided it showed me how much reading is a part of my everyday life. I definitely won’t go without again. Good luck to you!

  18. I’m trying to follow this blog without being influenced by it ~ I got the books and am ready to start my own journey with the Artist’s Way. Mostly because of these posts! It sounds like fun, but giving up reading for a week? Yikes. Now that I know that’s coming up, I’ll have to be uber good about reading for the first three weeks. ; )

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software