What is Reading Deprivation Week?

Hint: It’s part of The Artist’s Way

Sam Kimberle
11 min readSep 6, 2019


Does the thought of prohibiting yourself from reading for an entire week scare you? Does just the thought of it make you nervous?

What if I told you it would also include a ban on social media, email, and Medium? Anyone feeling a little hot under the collar now?

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

That’s what I thought.

A little over a month ago, I started a group to read and do The Artist’s Way. The Artist’s Way is a book by Julia Cameron with interactive activities for people to release and awaken their creativity. Here is the article I published several months ago to recruit people to this group:

A few key features of The Artist’s Way are that it’s broken down into weeks — each chapter corresponds to a week. It lends itself nicely to being read in a group. Many famous people credit their success to reading, and doing, The Artist’s Way.

I capped my group at 15 people, who each committed a small amount of money to participate. We meet weekly via Zoom, and are connected on Slack throughout the week. We are currently in Week 5 of 12.

Last week, Week 4 of The Artist’s Way, was different than all those weeks that came before it. It is infamously known as “Reading Deprivation week.”

It is as ominous as it sounds.

What does “reading deprivation” mean?

Julia Cameron springs this exercise on the reader towards the end of Chapter 4, otherwise entitled “Recovering: A Sense of Integrity.” The overview of the chapter reads: “This week may find you grappling with changing self-definition. The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integration of new self-awareness.”

Cameron also warns the reader not to “skip” the “tool of reading deprivation.”

It is our first warning that we should beware. But for innocent first-time readers, they have no…



Sam Kimberle

Perpetual student, searching for my ikigai. I am an Artist in artistic recovery care of Julia Cameron. Top writer in poetry. ❤️POM-Poet!❤️