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. –Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
I have not been nearly as steady working through the Artist’s Way this second time around. I am still enjoying the process, and I do believe it’s helping me to get into a healthier more productive frame of mind. However, my morning pages are still difficult-not in concept, but I constantly allow myself to procrastinate and put them off (making them far less beneficial when I don’t actually do them).
The biggest challenge of week four is no reading. I found myself procrastinating on even beginning my no reading week, as if my life is currently so productive, how can I possibly keep busy while not reading? In truth, I am still settling in after our move from Terceira, with no job, no car, and very little to keep me busy around the house.
My no reading week was fairly successful. I was only online for a couple of minutes each day to check for email from my parents (who were planning to visit the following week) and upload my daily visual journal posts. Oh–and I did totally cheat at night. I am finally in the habit of reading books before I go to sleep. A habit a really enjoy because it helps me fall asleep. The purpose of not reading forces you to realize how much time is easily wasted with the illusion of productivity because of the fact that you are reading (such as wandering about facebook, skimming random online articles, etc.). When not allowed to read, you find other means to fill your time and be productive, and essentially once all the work is completed, you are left with nothing to do except play and enjoy life around you. I felt my reading at night didn’t impede on the purpose of the exercise itself, so I kept it.
I kept busy by finishing several sewing projects I had been meaning to complete. I took the dogs out for walks in the mornings. I went for bike rides by the river. I cleaned house. I worked on finishing household projects I wanted done before my parents arrived. I worked on art in my studio. By the time I was allowed to read again, my parents had arrived and I was busy entertaining them, being the delightful host and charming daughter they love. (And, it was super-wonderful to have my parents visit, since I hadn’t seen them in a year. I love them.)
Once my parents left, I felt a new motivation. I was far more productive after forcing myself to slow down, and by not being allowed to check things off my to-do list. (You know, why do that today? I don’t feel like doing that today, besides, I can do it tomorrow-because, currently, every single day is pretty much the same.)
Over the past couple weeks, I have submitted several gallery inquiries, and sent out about twelve exhibition proposals, I have finished over ten smaller works on canvas, and listed many of them (and updated) my etsy shop. I feel more like myself, and less like I am figuratively floating about aimlessly after the move. I have set several goals and objectives to work towards in these upcoming few weeks, months, and even the next couple years. It feels good. I am starting to feel more like myself. However, that doesn’t making moving any less lonely.
Buried Dreams Exercise:
List of classes that sound fun–
List of activities you personally would never do, that sound fun–
1. Sing karaoke
2. Perform spoken-word poetry
3. Create street art
List of skills that would be fun to have–
1. Ability to speak a foreign language
List of activities you used to enjoy–
2. Jumping in puddles, walking in the rain
List of silly things you would like to try once–
1. Speak with a British accent for a day
2. Dance while listening to my headphones
3. Pretend to be someone else when meeting new people on vacation