February has come and gone, and I’m pretty happy with how I did with my web reading challenge. I cut out a lot of infotainment reading for more than a month.
Here’s what I think I learned. It might not be what I actually learned, but I don’t have any real way to distinguish. ;)
I didn’t write more fiction.
I didn’t read more fiction.
Not being able to read anything I wanted frustrated me.
I enjoyed writing more without all the other writers’ voices in my head telling me how I should run my career.
I got up earlier some days, but some days it didn’t seem to make any difference at all. I just found other things to read in bed.
I realized I mostly did the clicking and refreshing when I needed a break anyway. I didn’t concentrate better, or make better use of my time.
Habits take a ridiculously long time to break and if I want to break them I’m going to have to find an alternative behavior to cultivate into a habit instead of just trying to stop doing something.
That’s it, really. I don’t think it benefited me in the way I had hoped.
So come March 1, I ended the restrictions and I still managed to finish the work I needed to finish just fine. Some of it took a lot longer than I planned but clicking and refreshing articles, forums, blogs, and news sources had nothing to do with it at all.
In fact, I haven’t noticed anything different at all since I ended the restrictions, except a marked lowering of my frustration levels. (I was getting pretty frustrated there in the last few weeks of February.) Part of me wonders if this mindless reading is a coping mechanism for me, when stress starts to get to me. Possible, I think.
Here’s one other thing I learned but only after I let myself go back to clicking and refreshing: if I’m in a working mood, the clicking and refreshing stops. What this all means is that the clicking and refreshing is a symptom of whatever it is causing me not to want to write, not the cause.
That’s something worth knowing. :)
Anyway, consider this challenge done. It was a success, but not in the way I hoped.