Looking back over the week, my initial feel was that I'd failed miserably at the reading deprivation aspect of the Artist's Way. I still read blogs, I still read books. But then as I thought about it further, I realised it had actually worked better than I thought. I did try to read less and also found I did free up more time to be creative. I took more pictures this week than I've taken for months. We went to a play, ate a great meal and I took a lot of pictures; just walking around the park, playing poker, Thanksgiving dinner and just messing around in the house. Point is that the more I've been journaling and thinking about my photography, the more photography I've finally started doing. It has all been very candid, fun and free flowing. The pictures give me a lot of pleasure and it is has been really rewarding.
The pictures are very different from what I would have taken years ago - I looked back at some pictures I took at family events 5 years ago. There are hardly any of the people in them. Lots of detail shots or pictures of where we were. There would be an occasional posed group shot of everyone together, but not much more than that. I think I'm taking more pictures of what matter to me now, rather than what I think people might want to see. Hopefully along the way I'm finding my way towards creating more authentic images that might actually have something to say. It is an enjoyable path.
I also had the chance to make some prints and give them away. If you haven't done this in a while, I really recommend it. Take some pictures of some friends or family and get some prints made, then give them the pictures. It doesn't need to cost much - 4x6 prints from a local pharmacy might be 30c, online prints are closer to 20c. They might not be the most artistic or high minded pictures you've ever made, but they'll probably be some of the more rewarding. I don't see finished prints so much any more and the print quality can be pretty good. I just edited the images in Lightroom, exported them as JPEG in sRGB colour mode and put them on a USB stick. Printing took 5 minutes and cost a few dollars. You may well have plenty of pictures you took at Thanksgiving - maybe the person who hosted the party might like a couple of shots? Or maybe someone else would - I'm sure you know who they are.
Concurrent with this burst of photography, I'm getting back to being able to exercise for more than a few minutes at a time. I think there is an explicit link between these two. Not just because I'm generally more mobile or happier, but finding time for periods of creative thought really helps make things happen. For me, that's usually when I'm exercising. For others it might be the time spent watching the leaves fall, or the hypnotic state you find when driving, or maybe on a long walk. For a few months there, I wasn't able to do any of those kinds of making space to think in my life. I'd be reading, or watching TV, lying on the couch playing video games, but never really finding the times where my body was busy and my mind could relax and come up with ideas.