Reading Deprivation: What is Allowed?

So I’m day one into reading deprivation and must say it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I’m discovering just how much I distract myself with consuming entertainment and now have a lot more time to do other things.

Just today I’ve done a whole lot of creating as well as clearing up my old wardrobe and listing a lot of old books online for sale. I went for a walk and listened to lots of internet radio for fun things.

I mentioned in my last post that social media is going on my list to detox as well. But I’d like to just note down exactly what I mean by listing out what my challenge is to avoid this week.

And to be somewhat creative and positive, I’ve brainstormed some ideas for what to do instead – who knows perhaps it might help others going through the course!

Prohibited ‘Reading Deprivation’ Activities

This week, I will deprive myself of:

  • Reading for entertainment (includes comics and visual novels)
  • Reading for edu-tainment
  • YouTube browsing
  • Instagram browsing
  • Twitter browsing
  • Reddit browsing
  • Facebook feed scrolling
  • Watching any streaming services including Netflix, Stan, Disney+
  • Listening to podcasts

I’m not sure if the intention was to also avoid any and all educational material, but I’ll be limiting this too.

Exceptions to ‘Reading Deprivation’

When it comes to exceptions, use common sense.

It’s okay to read:

  • In order to survive (like instructions to make dinner or emergencies)
  • Official communication
  • Personal communication; and
  • Ch4 of The Artist’s Way
  • Keep up your other obligations

Surely there are others.

This is meant to be an exercise in stopping the automatic crank of consumption so you can listen to your own voice. It comes under a chapter called A Sense of Identity.

If there are any other vices distracting me from actively choosing an activity, then I’ll cut it out. It kind of sucks. Now I have all this time. But it’s not about making me miserable. It’s about learning to actively choose.

Things to do Instead

Julia Cameron actually has a pretty good list in her book The Artist’s Way. But here are some that I’m personally pursuing. Instead of ‘reading’ (in quotes because you know, social media) I can:

  • Draw
  • Paint
  • Write
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Listen to music
  • Daydream
  • Clean
  • Organise
  • Blog more
  • Look for illustration work
  • Go for a walk
  • Exercise
  • Play sport
  • Record podcasts or videos
  • Do the washing
  • Play an instrument

I’m sure there are more things that can be done but here’s my list. It”s here as much for me as it is for a future course participant who might stumble upon this blog. Good luck to you all.

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