I would dare say that one of the major killers of writers, or any craft, is television. It’s so seductive. Clearly it is better to sit down and relax after a long days work. Whether you’ve spent your day in the office, doing manual labor, or tending kids – at the end of the day I get why watching TV appeals to you. Not only do I get it, I used to do it ALL THE TIME.
Addiction is a strong word, but that is the label I would put on my TV watching days. It’s what I did growing up after school. It’s what I continued to do as an adult until a few years ago. The moment my kids were in bed it was officially “me” time. I would watch all sorts of movies and TV shows. Literally hours a night. Hours. Do you hear me? HOURS. They’d be in bed by 8/9pm and I’d stay up and watch until midnight (some times later). It was bad. It actually pains me to think about how I’ll never get that time back.
I’m not saying all TV is bad. I am saying that the majority of people are consumed by it. They are content on watching other people create things for them to consume instead of doing something themselves. Is this bad? Depends on the goals for your life. If you are content/happy with that then I say go for it. There are gems of TV shows out there. I know, I’ve heard people talk about current ones with great zeal. Enjoy it! I’m not really addressing you. I am however, talking to those people who wish they did more wood working, or art, or jewelry making, or reading, or mastering any number of skills. TV. What a distraction. Like I said, I get it. But I guarantee you that if you decide not to watch TV and do that thing instead, whatever it is, that you’ll find your life more fulfilling. You don’t even need to give up everything, someone who watches one or two shows a week is still going to be massively more productive in what really matters to them than if they watched every day.
My husband was my teacher here. He isn’t a big TV watcher anyways, so this helped immensely. He preferred to do things. I remember the first time it really clicked. He finally had to get blunt with me and said something like, “Imagine what you could do if you didn’t sit here all night.”
I didn’t start right away. This was a deeply rooted habit, my escape. Plus there was the real reality that I love movies. I love actors. Most of all I love good storytelling. It was easy to stay there, but bit by bit, I slowly gave up more and more days of watching TV. Now it is a rare occurrence (and truthfully more enjoyable). Instead, I create things.
When it comes to my writing this is the best lesson I ever learned. I wouldn’t have been able to implement any other piece of advice if I was glued to the TV. This one thing freed me. Made it possible for me to discover parts of me that were dormant. It helped me to be refined as a person and certainly as a writer.
Imagine all the worlds and all the characters I would have missed out on if that was not the case.