(This is the fourth in a series of posts following Tyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit. All the previous posts are collected in the Summer Blog Project category.)
#4 Give Me One Week Without. (This is the fourth in a series of posts
This has to do with dealing with distractions, like the phone, clocks or the internet. Tharp makes a list of things she will ignore for a week in order to sharpen her focus on creativity.
Today, I am starting an internet surfing hiatus. I can’t go randomly looking at things , which is the biggest time waster ever invented as far as I am concerned. I love to type in any random thing that comes to mind and follow where it leads me. I will keep up with my own blog for the purpose of this project, but I will not go off reading any of my favorite blogs. And no internet forums either.
She suggests avoiding Numbers, on clocks, scales, bills, dials, meters. Any form of counting to give the left side of your brain which is the counting side a rest, which will let the right side, the more intuitive side, come to fore. I think I will be good at this one. I am kind of like that anyway.
Another suggestion is avoiding background music. I don’t like background music when I am working. I listen to music, and often stop what I am doing while it is on. I can’t work with music because it grabs my focus. Music is based on repeating patterns and is full of colors. I can only listen to music when I am doing something fairly mindless that I don’t need to pay close attention to.
What I do instead is listen to NPR. I can ignore speaking in a way that I can never ignore music. I turn on NPR and let it drone on in the background while I work. Sometimes, things catch my attention, but mostly I use it to make a kind of white noise.
So I will give up NPR for a week as well.
Books. I love to read. Although it gives me many ideas, it is also my biggest distraction. No books, other than this one I am following, for a whole week. This will be the absolute hardest thing for me. I may die.
Tharp compares this pact with yourself to abstain from your distractions a ritual sacrifice to the gods. Instead of goats or sheep, the sacrifice is distractions.
(Update v1: I wrote this last Wednesday, so I have 3 days to go. I have already failed the test. I started farting around on the internet without thinking. It was only briefly, before I remembered that I was giving it up and stopped. I am doing well with everything else though. Even reading!)
(Update v2: I did better at this than I thought I would, but I wasn't absolutely successful.
I did forget and start surfing once, as I have already confessed.
I also read for about 20 minutes, totally on purpose. It was a book I have been wanting to read for ages and it was on 1 million holds before I could get it from the library. But I forced myself to Step Away From The Book, and didn't pick it up again until the week was up. Pretty good for a gal who generally swallows 3 books a week.
I didn't listen to NPR for a whole week, which was harder than I thought it would be. As I suspected, I didn't have any trouble avoiding numbers.)