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I did a week-long media deprivation—and this is what I learned.

Let me start at the beginning.

The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron. I’ve had this book for over 20 years. I have worked through part of it several times, and have seen so many amazing benefits from it.

Somehow I never make it to the end. I’d fall off somewhere around week five or so. This time I decided to work through it with a friend and it has made all the difference. It helps that she is also my accountability partner.

This time I went in knowing that I wanted to really do it. Completely commit. And I have. I’ve given myself that the leeway that sometimes instead of doing the ‘week’ in a week I do it in two. But every day come rain or shine, my morning pages are done and there is an Artist’s Date done every week. This has now become second nature. And something I look forward to each day/week. It is time just for me. And in a world that is filled with things that I need to do for others, it is so important to make myself a priority. That is not selfish. It is realistic. If I don’t take care of myself then I can’t take care of the other things in my life that I need to.

That brings us to now.

Last week was week four in the Artist’s Way and a big part of that was Media Deprivation. This meant I couldn’t watch TV, videos, go on social media, or read anything. I was allowed music and nothing else.

Basically, it was going to clean out all of the external information to really be able to see what I think. I was super nervous about it. And as I come out the other side, I have to say I was not nervous enough.

It was hard. But oh so rewarding. I found out a lot about myself and about how I take in media. Long story short, I took in too much and for the wrong reasons. By day two, I was so cranky, and I realized I was totally going through some media detoxing. WOW! I didn’t think I consumed that much. But apparently, I did.


I was using reading and watching to entertain me all the time. Eating breakfast or lunch? I was reading a book. Washing the dishes. Listen to a podcast. Sitting down for a minute? Oh, maybe a YouTube Video. Climbing into bed? What is going on with Instagram Reels? Or what about some reading. And this didn’t even account for any of the notifications that popped up on my phone. I was super plugged in and super anxious. And I didn’t even realize it.

So this past week, I shut it all down with the caveat that I still needed to work. So I answered emails from people that contacted me or that I needed to in order to continue working. But other than that I didn’t google a thing. I didn’t post on Instagram, and I didn’t even open Facebook. I didn’t hear or see any advertisements.


I was able to settle and listen to my intuition. And play games with my daughter—we played so many. And lots of chatting happened along the way. I cooked dinners. And had long conversations with friends. I went for walks. Went to a couple of zoom events. And I went to sleep when I was tired. I organized several areas of my house that I have been meaning to. I wrote a lot. And listened to a ton of music.


I missed reading. I missed novels and reading cookbooks.

And I craved more interaction with people. Real people. And real connections.

I want to figure out how to be more intentional about my consumption of media. And some non-media activities to wind down with. It was interesting to realize that when I was winding down, I was always consuming some sort of information. And that tended to overstimulate me. And overstimulation tended to amp up my anxiety level.

So on my list for this week is to think of activities I can do when I am overstimulated. So far I have going outside and just sitting and enjoying a change of place. Or as strange as it sounds—a shower. A shower is a great reset for me. And driving by myself. In each of these activities, I have to be in the moment and just enjoying the quiet.

I have realized that quiet is not a bad thing and that I don’t always have to be entertained—sometimes I can just be. Just be me. Just be quiet. Just take in the moment. Just take a breath and be.

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  1. Carrie Thompson says:

    Hi Erin,
    My name is Carrie. I live in Indianapolis with my husband and our grown son….and our sweet little Westiepoo, Maggie. We moved here in November from Nashua, NH. We were there for 8 years and we miss New England so much!

    I, too, have owned The Artist’s Way for more than 20 years. I did the course online with Julia Cameron leading it in the late 90’s. We had just moved to northern NJ at the time and I was feeling lonely, bored, and longing for creative people and stimulation. My sister was a huge fan of Julia’s. She took a lot of courses from Julia in NYC. My sister and I took a course from Julia and Natalie Goldberg that was a wonderful one day workshop on writing and creativity.
    At any rate, I remember the first time I went through Media Deprivation Week. I thought I was going to lose my mind. But then by about Day 4, I loved the clarity I began to feel. I took a lot of walks. Discovered my new town, met some wonderful people while exploring the local shops….and I spent a lot of time with my husband and kids. Since that first time, I have done the Artist’s Way 3 or 4 more times. I haven’t done it since we left NJ, though. Your post made me realize it’s something I should do now. I find myself spending entirely too much time on my phone. I don’t finish knitting projects the way I used to. And I don’t read as much as I did pre-Pandemic. I’m a lover of fiction. Why did I stop reading? I think another journey through the Artist’s Way could help me get back to that hobby that I love so much.

    I just bought your Finny Cowl pattern today. A friend of mine finished it really and I fell in love with it! I’m looking forward to knitting it, and to browsing through your other patterns.

    I’ll think of you as I take my journey through The Artist’s Way. Thank you for reminding me about it.