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If you are familiar with Julia Cameron's "The Artist"s Way" then you know that week 4 is "Reading Deprivation" week, or as I chose to frame it, "Media Deprivation" week. Media Deprivation is meant to reduce the inflow of outside distractions and allow some inner silence and space to get clear with your own thoughts and creativity. It is not an easy task, but it is rewarding and insightful. I wasn't perfect this past week, but I did gain self-awareness. Here is a summary of my week:

Monday: I determined that the outside distractions that I would give up for a week were to be, reading the newspaper (including my daily Sudoku and Crossword puzzles), books, magazines, TV, radio,and the computer in all forms - e-mail, reading blogs, and social networking. I made a list of other things to do to fill my time, most importantly uninterrupted time in the studio. I actually did have to turn on the computer in order to upload pictures, burn CD's and prepare some quilt show entries, but I resisted e-mail and Facebook completely - so proud of myself! Monday night I missed one of my favorite TV shows and instead cleaned out and threw out 3 boxes of junk from my bedroom closet (that have been there how many years?)

Tuesday: The daytime wasn't too rough as I was out of the house most of the day. I went to my quilters' guild meeting and then a group of us went out to lunch. That was all well and good, but the evening was another story. Only day 2 and all I wanted to do was have a glass of wine, watch the evening news, and hang out on Facebook! None of that happened (oh, except for the wine).

Wednesday: A few slips today. I felt sluggish the whole day partly due to a poor night's sleep, but also because I was between art projects and needed to put the finished work out of my head and move on to the next piece. I accomplished some mundane tasks - laundry, some mending, a few errands. Later, I mixed some dyes and got the studio prepped for the next day, but didn't really accomplish much more than that. I slipped a bit and watched Oprah, but it was a decision to watch because her guest was Michael Pollan who wrote "In Defense of Food" - I love that guy! Oh, and I sat and did a crossword puzzle this evening - now what is so wrong with that?

Thursday: This morning I woke up to snow! It was a total surprise because I am not watching TV - news, weather, nothing. I considered turning on the Weather Channel, but why, really? It's snowing - that's the weather. Had my best day of the week so far. In the studio all day. Painted with thickened dyes for the first time - I had a large blank piece of practice fabric and went to town! It was lots of fun! Then I started dye painting on an existing piece that needs to be finished. An 8 hour studio day! No slips and no distractions today.

Friday: More studio hours. It is becoming so clear to me how much work can actually be accomplished when one tunes out all the distractions. Much of it doesn't feel like so much of a deprivation by now. Of course I miss reading and I know that's coming back, and you know I'm going back on Facebook!! As an artist who holes up in my home studio for days on end, I really love the connection I get with social networking. I do think, though, that I have learned a good lesson on self-discipline. I can check online a couple of times a day and that is enough.

Saturday: All my guys are gone for the weekend. Mark is out of town on business. #1 son is gone for the day, #2 son is moving into his own place nearer to work. The weekend is my own and I plan to spend it in the studio. Another great day making art - then I lost it in the evening. Sitting home, all alone and the desire for connection sent me straight to Facebook! I'm nearing the end of my week - so I had a weak moment! Ah well.....

Sunday: My week of Media Deprivation is coming to a close. I wrote my Morning Pages 6 days out of 7, I had a wonderful Artist's Date on Friday night, going to hear Jack Walsh's gallery talk about his art quilt collection. I've had lots of clear, silent inner space in which to think and it has been enlightening. I have a clearer purpose for self-discipline in all things distracting; I know it is something that I'll need to be vigilant about. It has been a productive week in so many ways.

Until next time -


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