Reading Deprivation Pt 2 – It’s All in the Timing

ReadingSo I learned an important lesson last week while doing Reading Deprivation (“RD”).  Well, actually, several.  But here’s the first one:

1.  Reading Deprivation is best while on vacation.

I guess I didn’t really mention it in my last post, but most of that first experience of RD occurred during a vacation (this one, actually).  My schedule consisted of extensive relaxation time on a beach, and eating out with friends, which complemented RD perfectly.  Because then I can focus on writing things, on disengaging from Facebook, on letting things pile up and knowing I’ll have plenty of time to get back to them.  Nearly everyone else was on vacation too!  I really wasn’t missing that much.

Oh, if it had only been so easy this time.

2.  Commuting and Reading Deprivation are not well-matched.

You know what is perfectly suited to short trips in crowded spaces where you may not be able to even sit down?  READING.  Articles and blogs on the bus, magazines on the subway – these things go together.  Sure, I traveled on a bus last time I did RD, but it was a couple of three-hour trips!  With a guaranteed seat!  And room to spread out!  There, I could write.  I could plan.  I could imagine.  I could dream.

So yeah, doing RD last week was just shy of miserable.  I suppose I could have looked around, but the thing is, I do that often enough as it is.  And staring at people gets old quickly when you’ve already done it that day and want a diversion.  I sort of wanted to escape from my surroundings, given how often I was on a bus and how unpleasant it is on a lot of subways.  I know RD was supposed to help me see things I didn’t normally see…but it’s not like I haven’t done it before.  It just wasn’t as much fun this time.

3.  I failed at Facebook this time, too.

So last time, not only did I do a lovely bout of RD, but I disengaged completely from Facebook, with the exception of three or four times of the world’s quickest checking-my-notifications-and-messages-for-urgent-things visits.  And I loved it!  Like many others feel, FB is tiring and discouraging for me, seeing so many other people at their finest moments and feeling like I’m at a constant low.  Even when I’m having the best day, getting on FB is a great way to kill that euphoria.  So not being on FB was lovely.

But this time…well, because I wasn’t allowing myself to read, and because there really wasn’t the time or space to write, I found myself staring at my phone, desperately searching for something to do.  I started out strong, doing puzzles on my tablet (best purchase ever, btw).  But then I had a couple trips where I couldn’t access my tablet easily because it was buried in a stuffed backpack, and all I had was my phone, and FB somehow seemed kosher because it wasn’t technically reading.  The result is that I couldn’t escape that screenfaced feeling.

4.  Articles.  So. Many. Articles.

Because I was on FB but not allowing myself to read long-form things, I kept stumbling upon these articles I wanted to read.  At least one every single time I got on FB.  Sometimes two.  And I couldn’t read them!!!

So I came up with a clever solution: I’ll email myself the links so I can read them all when I’m done with RD!  Brilliant, right?

Not gonna lie, that giant email thread I’ve got in my inbox is daunting.  And even worse, I’m now super familiar with the titles, and I keep wondering what the articles say.  Particularly one that apparently juxtaposes “Blurred Lines” with statements of rapists.  What does it say?!?! I was wondering all week.  It’s like I was constantly teasing myself.  That was way worse than just reading it would have been.

5.  There were successes.

It was surprisingly easy not to read the blogs on my blog roll.  You know why?  Because I knew they’d all be there waiting for me when I finally got to them.  I can honestly say I didn’t even try to read one last week.  Again, it’s ’cause there wasn’t any pressure – but still, a victory is a victory.

I started out with a great weekend, too.  Much like a vacation, in fact – I disengaged, hung out with our neighbors, spent a lot of time watching football (go OU!) and scrapbooking, cooked dinner for my husband (this salad is everything fall, guys!), and felt completely refreshed and rejuvenated when Monday rolled around.  No reading needed, no Internet time, no FB – just me and life.  The autumn weather probably helped.

6.  But ultimately, Reading Deprivation is not possible when you’re an audiobook narrator who has a book to record next week.

One of my jobs is audiobook narration.  It’s not for commercial release or anything like that; these are recordings for the blind for the National Library of Science.  It’s fun, but like any job, there is definitely work involved.

Reading books aloud needs prep, especially books with lots of Ecuadorian names and places that your tiny understanding of Spanish doesn’t really cover.  So you have to read said books, and mark them up, and deal with your husband asking you, “Are you allowed to be reading that?”, and have to explain your dilemma, and then finally decide, that’s it!

So yeah, I ended up quitting RD a little early.  I feel so bad, after talking it up so much last time!  Granted, different situations, different results.  But hopefully some of you tried it and had a better time with it than I did.  Let me know what your experience was like!  Do you have any tips for getting RD to integrate with your life?

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebbp/93235624/”>the bbp</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

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