Coming off of reading deprivation week

How, as a writer, do you not read?

This question comes up often on forums (Do you need to read in order to write?). For my own writing life, I come down squarely on the side of “yes” to reading. Often, reading helps get me revved up to write, gets me into the poetry zone.

Week 4 of The Artist’s Way, the week that includes Reading Deprivation, has felt like getting a part of me chopped off. And I cheated–I read for the class I’m taking, I read for work, I read emails–some pertaining to upcoming family events. I had one major slip reading about some books online; I now know I don’t want to buy them, but I could have waited to find that out.

I did not use that extra time to clean out closets or unpack boxes left over from moving out of my office over a year ago (!). Instead, I watched TV with less guilt. I don’t think this is a good trade-off.

But I did become more attentive to what I was reading, or not reading. Do I need two email messages of news headlines when I’m already listening to NPR on the way to work? What do I choose to read? What will feed me?

That said, I now have a terrific backlog of poems to read. Let’s go!