American Idol

When is Watching Trash TV is Good for Your Writing?

I'm leading a home study group on a book called Birthing a Greater Reality (which is an amazing book on the evolution of consciousness, by the way) and our first meeting was Tuesday night.  As an icebreaker, I had everyone talk a little about themselves and then say something that was surprising or unexpected about them.  My surprising thing is that I love trashy reality TV.


Why is this surprising?

Well, I've railed against TV-watching on this very blog more than once.  Probably a bit sanctimoniously, it pains me to say.  Even though it is true that TV is one big time-sucking panacea for the masses.

And yet, I'm now hooked on reality shows.  I comfort myself by telling myself that the reality shows I watch are relatively highbrow.  Ones like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, and Tanked.  Shows that actually depict people doing interesting things.

But then how to explain my obsession fondness for American Idol, and now, X Factor?

Heavy sigh.

It's unexplainable.


Rationalization #1: When you've spent the day throwing words at the page, putting it all out there as hard as you can, you're brain dead by evening.  And a little mindless TV is about all you're good for.

Rationalization #2: When you own the world's oldest pug, and his greatest joy in life is sitting next to you on the couch watching TV, you want to make him happy in the time he has left.

Rationalization #3:  When you convince yourself that watching trash TV is good for your writing, well, then, anything goes. 

So here's why watching the X Factor (which, I don't think, has quite hit its stride yet, and by the way, there's a reason why American Idol fired Paula, because she is a-noy-ying) is good for your writing:

Reason #1: Because it's inspiring.  Watching people who've been working at their dream of singing with little support or encouraging suddenly getting props for their amazing voices makes my heart swell. 

Reason #2: Because it's a reminder that it can happen to any of us at any time.  Ya just gotta keep believing.  Keep submitting the novel, keep revising the memoir, keep at it.  A 53-year-old woman got up and sang her heart out last night and got put through to the next round.

Reason #3: Because even the bad ones have interesting stories.  And it is fascinating to watch how the producers shape the stories.  And as writers, we should all be soaking up stories as much as possible.

So there you have it, my reasons why you should watch TV once in awhile.  And it will no doubt be the last time I ever recommend such a thing, so enjoy it while you can. 

Do you watch TV?  What shows do you watch?

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Photo from Everystockphoto.

Do You Lack Writing Time or Writing Energy?

Time.       Metal_mechanics_type_221267_l           

It's elusive, isn't it? 

Weird how in the same amount of hours on one day you get a ton done and the next day you fritter it away.

Time is either the writer's friend, or the bane of her existence, more often the latter.  Nearly every client and student I coach struggles with time, and most of the time that struggle is about trying to get enough of it.

But lately the truth of the time conundrum has hit me.

It is not about time, it is about energy.  Or more to the point, a lack thereof.

Case in point: watching TV.  For years, I've been a dedicated non-TV watcher.  One of my favorite rants has been about how much time we all waste watching TV, how brainless it is, yada yada yada.

Enter the ancient sexy elderly pug named Buster, who we rescued from the Humane Society shortly before Christmas. (Alas, his buddy Ally died in March.  Miss that girly.) For you civilians who are not pug owners, pugs are creatures of habit, sort of like your crotchety grandpa who has to have dinner at the same time every night.  Buster has developed a TV-watching habit, fueled by his admiration for Steven Tyler on American Idol

Buster likes to snuggle up on the orange Ikea futon in the family room and watch TV and every evening, he yips and barks if this doesn't happen.

So I have started watching way more TV than I have in years.  Because, you know, I gotta keep the pug happy. And here's the deal:  I kinda like it.  I find it relaxing.  I find myself working harder during the day so that I can watch TV with Buster at night. 

Because the truth of the matter is that by the time I'm done with dinner, my brain is fried anyway.  And I'm no longer good for writing or working on business stuff.  (I know, I know, I could read a book and I often do–last night I tore through If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  I think it is time to admit that some of the best writing these days is for the young adult market.)

Thus, the point of this post: it is not about lack of time, it is about lack of energy. 

Yeah, technically I've got time in the evenings to work on my novel.  But I don't have the mental energy.  And that's the real issue we have to face.

I've got a few suggestions, but this post has already gone on way longer than I intended, so I'll take up the topic again next week.

How do you gather and maintain energy for writing?

In the meantime, come back on Friday, when I'll feature a guest post by Erica Nelson, author of Happiness Quotations.  See you then!

Photo by clix.