Writing about writing

Archive for January, 2015

I couldn’t help it

I blew my Reading/Digital Deprivation (Fast) yesterday.  I was doing very well.  I really was.  But Gayle Forman’s new book was released on January 27 and I was itching to read it.  I had pre-ordered it for my Nook, so yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and download it so it would be ready for when I am off my 7 days of Reading Deprivation (this Saturday).

And that’s all she wrote.  Without meaning to, but also without fighting too hard, I read the first page.  From there, I simply could NOT put the book down.  I cried.  I laughed.  I wept.  I sobbed.  I soaked my t-shirt and my pillow with my tears.  My son, in amazement, comments on how he just doesn’t understand how a book could make someone FEEL so much.  Oh, if only he–and everyone else–only knew.

I think that anyone who reads I Was Here will be moved by the story, but only those who have lost a beloved, precious loved one will GET IT…will FEEL it deeply, to the depths of the soul.

I do not regret even for one second breaking my fast in order to read this book.  I will continue with the Reading/Digital Deprivation throughout these last few days; I refuse to start over.  As someone who reads as much as I do, I would honestly be surprised if I actually made it a full 7 days without doing some aspect of reading on a personal level.  It just isn’t realistic.  But I have tried.  And I am noticing how cluttered my brain is and how much is going on up that there that is overwhelming me on a daily basis.  I do need to de-clutter my brain and find time to stop and smell the roses so I can be refreshed and find my inner, creative self.

But I will never regret reading a book that has made such a powerful impact for me!!!!

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I’ve already had to get online….

Well, it’s obviously not going to be a complete week of Reading Deprivation and/or digital [Fasting].  Haha!  Oh well.  It’s to be expected.  I AM an English Instructor at a community college, after all.  Regardless of what I may want to do or not, I do still have to check my campus emails, grade assignments, create assignments, help students with assignments, and the list goes on.

I can, though, avoid reading for pleasure as well as my own personal emails and, the big one, Facebook.

This is already a very interesting experiment, Julia Cameron.

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A week’s worth of Reading Deprivation


I am currently reading Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY.  I have read other books by Julia Cameron and I really like the things she has to say.  She’s been there, done that as far as writing is concerned and I have come to trust her.  I find it difficult to do EVERYTHING she suggests in her books, but I do find that the things I have done that she recommends are very beneficial for my art–Writing.

I love to write–as I have shared in this blog already.  It is as much a part of me as breathing.  (As is reading, so you may be able to imagine how difficult this week already is and I’m only on the 2nd day of Reading Deprivation!)  I HAVE to write.  I love writing for myself (journaling).  I love writing my blogs–this one and my “Joy Regardless” blog (link to that one is available at the top of the screen) whether anyone reads them or not.  The fact that people are reading them excites me, but humbles me as well.  (Thank you.)  I love doing the writing I do for my job as an English instructor (assignments, emails, proposals, etc., etc., etc.).  I simply love to write.

The problem, though, is that while I have a dream of being a PUBLISHED writer, I find myself stuck in that regard.  I have written several books–mostly during NaNoWriMo (November), but I have never done anything with them.  I know that my serial-killing-teacher story is one that is worth revising and attempting to publish and I know that my Memoir is also one that NEEDS to be revised and shopped for a publisher.  But instead of doing anything about getting them published, they are languishing on my laptop, getting “dusty” from lack of use.

So in an attempt to jump-start my publishing career, I have turned to Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY to help me get motivated.  She is a great motivator.  But I am finding her “suggestion” of Reading Deprivation to be one that makes me want to punch out the lights of anyone who comes near me!  I started it last night and I yelled at my husband and son because I couldn’t find something my husband misplaced–even though I was sure I knew where he had put it!

But I want to give it a shot.  Julia Cameron talks about in week 4, how

“If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation. . . .Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us begin to immediately fill [sic–split infinitive] with new words–long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion.  We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static.  In practicing reading deprivation, we need to cast a watchful eye on these other pollutants.  They poison the well.

If we monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum, we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation with embarrassing speed.  Our reward will be a new outflow” (87).

In doing this Reading “Fast” or Reading deprivation, for 7 days, I will also have to give up a lot of my computer time because so much of the reading that I do is online–Facebook, emails, blogs, etc.  As an English Instructor, a week’s worth of Reading Deprivation is impossible completely because I will still need to check my school emails periodically throughout the week for important work emails–from my boss, other co-workers, and especially important emails from students.  I have created an automatic out-going message, though, for all my email accounts that state that I am doing this week of Reading Deprivation and have asked that if they need me either to come see me or call me instead of email me.

I have also sent out an announcement/email to all of my students letting them know that I am doing a week of Reading Deprivation, but that does not mean I am unavailable to them.  Again, I told them that if they need me, either come see me or call me.

Reading deprivation also means NO READING WHILE I AM IN THE BATHROOM.  I can’t even begin to explain to you how very difficult this one is going to be!  Even when I only need to be quick, I will read at least a paragraph when I go to the bathroom!  I have been reading on the toilet since I was old enough to hold a book–and knew how to read!  If I cheat on my reading “fast” this week, it will be during a bathroom visit, I’m sure!

Julia, I sure hope your suggestions in THE ARTIST’S WAY, including and especially this whole week of Reading Deprivation work and that I will begin to see and feel results in my creative life!!!!!  I know that I am meant to do more with my writing than just write for myself, so here goes nothing at finding a way to dream and dream big!!!!  🙂


My writing in 2014

Pen Zu online journal: 409 entries with 250,000+ words total for 2014!!!! Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever written that much! Feels good! Feels REAL good!

It is amazing how much writing I did in 2014.  Wow.  As I look at that number, 250,000, I am shocked that I was able to write that much in a year especially a year that was very busy for me.  If I counted the assignments, emails, and other documents that I write for school–my job–that number would jump up at least to 300k, I’m sure.  But I chose to count only the words I wrote in my journal throughout the year.

10461998_859100954118822_4151280915876541090_nDo you journal?  You should, you know.  I require my Freshman Composition students to keep an online blog for our class.  Many of them balk at it and complain a lot, but by the end of the semester, there are always a few who are glad they participated in it.  Every once in awhile, it is a means to draw the students in the classroom closer together–to create a sense of community that we can’t get via any other method.  I love that.  I personally believe that students are more open to learning and the learning process when they are comfortable in the classroom–when the classroom is a safe place where they can share without judgment.  And that non-judgment includes NOT looking at or worrying about their grammar in their blog entries.  They can simply what they want.

Of course it’s not a perfect system.  Some students wait until the last minute to post their blog entries and that doesn’t do anything at all except give them a grade–a lower grades, but still a grade.  I still have students who hate the whole process but do it because they want a good grade.  And every once in a while, I have students who post things that make me wonder…..about a lot of things.

But more often than not, their blog entries are fun to read as well as worth reading.  I am glad to do it.  I wish I could make everyone I know write/keep a journal.  I wish every single person I know would GET how healing, awesome, powerful, wonderful, and just plain cool a journal is.  I know I’m in a small class of people who actually LOVE to write.  I accept that truth.  And regardless of whether or not anyone reads what I write or even cares about what I write, I will keep writing because I am writing for myself more than I am writing for anyone else anyway.

Just keep writing……


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