In The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron recommends ending writer’s block by abstaining from reading for one week. The idea is that it will force one to observe his or her surroundings, rather to be drawn into another’s thoughts.
I completely agree with the observation portion of that piece of advice. Any time we remove ourselves from our daily distractions, our senses are heightens and our minds come up with new ideas. (One reason why vacations are so mind-opening!) I question the part about not reading, however. At least for me. The more I read great writing, the more I want to write, and the more my thoughts flow!
Case in point: this very moment. I’m writing this post while up at my family’s cabin in northern Minnesota. There’s no tv, no movies or electronic games, no internet. (And, of course, you’re reading the post a few days later because there’s no internet up here!) So while I’m up here I’m actually reading much more than I do in the city, yet I find myself drawn to the computer to attempt a bit of decent prose. Which I’m not sure I’ve achieved yet…
True, there are very, very few distractions up here. Besides a vintage cabin with only a deck of cards and a few 1980s board games, it’s raining and there’s no shopping or entertainment to speak of in the nearby town. That kind of withdrawal from modern life certainly helps sharpens one’s observations, and the reading that I’ve been catching up on is fueling my writing, rather than detracting from it.
Hope you didn’t mind a bit of rambling today ; )