I’ve been considering trying out the Continuous Creation Challenge for a few months. In essence, the Continuous Creation Challenge is a personally chosen period of time in which one focuses solely on creative output and eliminates media intake. I knew ahead of time this week was going to be a quiet one. It was the perfect opportunity.
Even so, I waffled on the idea for a few weeks. Mainly, I was afraid I wouldn’t actually be able to do it. But, well, you don’t know until you try … and really, if I can’t go five days without a media fix, even in the middle of summer when I’m not missing any new episodes, well, then maybe I need it all the more. So I finally talked myself into committing to giving it a try.
I’ll tell you more about why I’m doing the Challenge and what I hope to get from it in additional posts to come. But first, I wanted to share with you how I prepared for it this weekend. Because once I finally talked myself into it, I found myself instinctively safeguarding against my fear of failing in a number of ways.
1. Pre-Fast Binge.
Because how could I possibly get through five days without Netflix still wondering if Buffy will stop the Mayor’s Ascension Day–or if her Watcher will grant her the leniency she needs to attend college?
I spent my Saturday knocking out Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 3. And the latest issue of TIME. And American Vampire Vol. 3. And my latest Netflix mailer. Etc. I needed closure, people.
I know, my life is tough.
2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
When it comes to media, I have a bit of a problem. I know this. So to have a shot at avoiding it for a week, I had to put it out of easy reach. That meant hiding a few stacks of books, tucking the remotes away somewhere I couldn’t reach from the couch, and pulling a few resources from the Internet so I could turn off my computer’s wifi receptor. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?
3. Setting Goals
Another key to staying media-free is having strong, solid goals for myself. I made a list of activities I want to cover each day of my fast, and other specific accomplishments I want to reach for my ongoing projects.
It’s a fine line, though–another tendency I’m trying to curb is self-inflicted stress caused by never-ending to-do lists. I want to use this time to slow down and recenter.
4. Envisioning Success
Maybe it was my years of sports, but my brain does this automatically for just about everything. So as I prepared, my mind kept asking, but what does a media fast look like? It’s quieter. It’s more open time. It’s fewer passive activities and more engaged ones. How would I wind down after work? What would replace my bedtime reading? What if I got bored or restless?
5. Baby Steps
After doing a lot of my other preparation on Saturday, I called Sunday my Transition Day. I didn’t outlaw media yet, but I tried to shift my focus to other activities. I did a lot more writing, a lot more walking, a lot more playing with the dog. It was nice.
Five steps. It takes me five big steps for me to pry my tightly clasped fingers away from media and focus on creative output. I dearly love my stories, in all their forms, so letting go of them is hard. And that seems like all the more reason to give this a try.
By no means am I one to say that media is bad. I love it. But media is one of those things that makes it easy to shut off your brain and kick while other things pass you by. And above all else, I believe in living deliberately. So it’s good to step back and try something new periodically.
Stay tuned … I’ll share more about my reasons and experience over the next week.
Have you ever done a media fast? What do you think of them?