Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In Defense of Television #amwriting

I am the guilty type. The kind of person to feel really terrible about television marathons. I could be learning French, I think, or cosmology or how to build a robot. Do I want to be lying on my deathbed regretting the lost weeks or months (hell, maybe years if we are being honest here), watching Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Haven, Bones, House, Supernatural, or True Blood—just to name a couple...

I should be writing.

And that is really what it comes down to. I feel guilty about every free moment I have that I squander instead of writing.

I have it so easy. I have a dog and a partner that do not rely on me—(*tips hat to the writer parents out there*). I have a job that I largely control—my own hours, pants optional.
I could not have it easier—which I love—and which I did a lot of work to achieve (years of rearranging my life and seizing certain opportunities so that I could be more and more my own person).

So why the guilt if instead of enjoying what I’ve sown? I worked hard to get here and should enjoy it.

Yet, I can’t help but feel like I need to make excuses for slacking and it may be because I haven’t realized all my writing dreams yet. I don’t have a Hugo or Nebula (or Nobel Peace Prize). I am not #1 New York Times Bestselling Author (or even on the list). I am not a household name—so it feels like I am sabotaging my own success every time I turn on the TV instead of barreling through that next chapter.

And maybe I do need to make adjustments to my schedule. Perhaps I am not so good at reinforcing a schedule when I have flexibility out the wahzoo. Or maybe instead, I should tout the virtues of television.

After all, isn’t good television nothing more than a good story—just like fiction? Don’t we see character development and plot? By watching vast quantities of television, it is easy to see how a character arc is stretched over a season (equivalent to that of a novel). We see examples of conflict and tension. It is easier to see how a large plot arc is developed over several seasons (just like in several of our favorite book series).

Good TV writing can also show a writer how conflict can deepen character motivation and personalities as well as add theme and depth to the story itself. When TV writers change gears or POVs, it also provides good examples of narration, its multitude of angles and all the possible ways a person can tell the same story.

And why not? Some TV is based on the book anyway (though that is no substitute! Who said I wasn’t reading!?!)

And I can’t write ALL the time. I need to fill my creativity well more than I drain it—or I will find myself blocked and worthless. And if I fill my well with good books, movies, Sims—and TV—then so be it.

So excuse me while I go watch an episode Lost Girl.


  1. A lot of movies & TV shows have given me so much inspiration & have taught me a lot about what makes a good story. I too am a sucker for a TV marathon when it's a good series, such as True Blood or Supernatural, I also love Pretty Little Liars, but that last one is less of writing inspiration & more of what-never-to-do if I have a secret!
    I hope you enjoyed Lost Girl! I saw it advertised & think I might have to see what it's about.
    Bethanie :)

    1. Glad I'm not the only one! And I have heard about Pretty Little Liars. Is it still running? Is it AWESOME? should I be checking it out? :)

  2. Anything and everything can be used to fill the creativity well! I think as long as you're not neglecting writing altogether, you shouldn't feel guilty for doing other things. I set a weekly word count, and while it would be nice to reach beyond it, as long as I hit that number, I allow myself a guilt-free break. Lost Girl is next on my list! ; )

    1. Yes, I definitely need to create more "goals" for myself and make sure I watch them. Then it will feel like I'm a kid again. "No TV 'til after your homework!" :)