Welcome to Week 4 of my Artist’s Way Adventure. If you are unfamiliar with this new series, take a look at The Artist’s Way Adventure – Prologue and then come back here later.
This week was confusing. This week was frustrating. I wished I could have fast forwarded this week. During this Week 4 I needed to read the chapter at least three times to understand the point of it all… The worst part, I do not think I got the point of this week.
From what I understand, Week 4 is about deep-diving into who you are, what you want to do, and then finally doing something about it. What I got from it was you can’t read, you can’t read, enjoy your suffering, you can’t read. I understand that a reading detox is meant to demonstrate how much time we as people spend on reading social media, reading trashy articles, reading tutorials, and not spending enough time doing. I get it. I really do.
I just really like to read and on a week that I could not read, I was an unhappy camper.
However, there were some highlights.
Thinking Out of the Box
What is interesting about limits is that it forces you to think out of the box.
I text and message my significant other frequently. I let him know when I get to work, I let him know when I am going to take the train when I leave work and I fill him up with updates in between. Instead of going a week in radio silence, however, he would send me voice messages on messenger. It was a cute creative way to remain in touch and I appreciated the support I got for my reading detox challenge.
Another work-around that we did to help me ‘survive’ through the week was having him occasionally read my messages that people would send me whenever we were together. If someone we knew in common messaged me, I told him to either take my phone or use his own to continue the conversation since I obviously couldn’t do it on my own. I also did a lot of phone calls this week which was nice since sometimes a phone call is much more personal than a one-sentence message.
I did a lot of Netflix binging this week as well. I got to watch the shows “Dear White People” and “13 Reasons Why” which are shows that cover sensitive topics that usually are too taboo to talk about with friends and family. I always find it fascinating to experience day-to-day events through a different set of lenses and being able to see how different people experience life was eye-opening.
Netflix is the kind of platform that I do not allow myself to enjoy since I usually spend my time reading online or watching videos on Youtube. Since both of those activities usually, require me to read I had no choice but to actually watch Netflix. While yes, I’m sure the point of the reading detox was not to continue being a lazy couch potato, I did get to benefit from my binge-watching.
What I Learned
I read a lot.
I know I mentioned that earlier, but being forced not to read makes you realize how much we read from day-to-day. It’s similar to how after I got my hip-replacement surgery, I realized how important walking was.
I went to Barnes and Nobles during my reading detox week. It was difficult navigating through the aisles with my friends without scanning through the titles on the spines of the books. Eventually, I gave up and went to the cafe area while they browsed the shop. It is just wild how we as humans are so quick to digest the information around our surroundings so quickly, even when we are trying not to read.
As expected, I also realized that I spent a lot of time reading. Imagine, I was able to complete a 13-hour show in a week. 13 Hours. That is a lot of time. If I invested that time to draw or to work on my own personal projects, oh my goodness, I would be so much further along in my artistic journey.
I can’t help it, I love to read. I enjoy being a fly on the wall instead of actively participating in conversations on Facebook. I do not do enough things. I like experiencing it through the lives of Youtubers. This lesson was hard. Not because I did not know this already, but it was a tough pill to swallow, to be able to admit to myself.
My Artist Date
Similar to how most of the activities this week was about ‘cheating’ and finding creative ways to fulfill the annoying tasks this week… My artist date reflected that. Unlike previous weeks, I did not make a plan to go anywhere special for this week. My inner artist was short-changed.
On Saturday I went out with my best friend to an outdoor flea market. There we walked and chatted as we went through shop to shop, trying to haggle our ways to ‘great’ deals and also buy snacks to give us the calories we desperately needed as we walked the afternoon away.
The ‘artist date’ really started after we went to Wallmart. I bought a sketchbook there as an ‘impulse’ buy. When I went home I spent three hours on being creative. I wrote, I drew, I colored. I actually did things instead of just reading or watching, which I feel was good for my inner artist who hasn’t had the time to really color. The best part was that while doing my piece, I did hit several speedbumps. The paper of the new sketchbook handled Copic markers very badly and I did not spend enough time in the sketching phase.
However as Artist Way put it, we need to practice our craft. We need at least 100 ugly ducklings before we get a beautiful swan.
Week 4 was awful. I sooo did not enjoy the reading detox even though it did help me view things from a different perspective. It was a productive week, but it was equally a very painful week.
I did appreciate all the support I go through my friends and the book itself to survive, but hopefully there are no future ‘reading detox’ challenges.