How TV Ruined My Life…

It’s coming up to three weeks since I last wrote a blog post, and I should warn you that by no means, will this post make up for it.

 

If you haven’t closed your web browser, or navigated yourself elsewhere and you’re still reading this, then you should probably reconsider. I’ll give you a moment (you’re welcome).

 

Still here? You crazy. Here’s today’s post:

 

Despite all my fantastically amazing intentions to write as much as possible, sometimes I quickly admit defeat and other life type stuff appears and completely destroys my writing schedule (suggesting I even have one). It isn’t long before it’s been a week since I last wrote, then two weeks and then three. Eventually, once things have simmered down, I know I’ll have to get back on the horse.  And getting back on the writing horse is always a bit of a pisser.

I know this. I know this fact so well I torture myself with it while I’m loafing on the sofa watching repeat episodes of Friends for the 8 millionth time. I am so overly aware of this fact, that I’ve already written a post about it. Twice.

But after a slog in the office or a weekend plagued with late nights and hangovers (that’s right, I get out), I’ll happily opt for slumming it on the sofa in my pants over writing a blog post about not writing because I’ve been at karaoke parties, torturing people I’ve never met before by shouting my way through Prince’s 1999 (seriously, no matter how much you think you know this song, you don’t. I learned the hard way).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to justify that watching TV as a valid reason not to do any writing. It’s even harder to justify watching repeat episodes of Friends, which I’ve seen a buhzillion times, and have on DVD instead of writing, but I still do it. And just when I start to feel guilty about wasting my life away watching shows I practically know line for line, I start watching something else instead, something really crappy, like The Big Bang Theory, which I don’t even like. Eventually, guilt will set in and my psyche starts to use all this TV watching apathy as ammo against me and I’ll start asking myself why I’m  watching shows I’ve already seen/don’t even enjoy instead of writing.

To minimize the guilt, and justify TV watching further, I’ve been asking people to suggest other shows (ones I haven’t seen, and might enjoy more than The Big Bang Theory) that I can watch instead. Therefore, I can justify not writing, because I’m relaxing.

Seeing as words are failing me right now, here’s a diagram of what goes on in my head.

Writing not going to happen

When other life stuff starts happening all over the place, and you’re trying to juggle work and a suddenly very hectic social schedule (I know, I can’t believe it either) alongside all the usual crappy things (like laundry and ironing and visiting parents and going to the supermarket and crying at your bank balance), collapsing in front of the TV to watch, well, anything is more appealing than shifting your brain up a gear and getting creative and bashing out a blog post or another chapter in your sprawling novel that is taking forever to complete.

Underneath it all, I know this isn’t really a valid excuse. I know that really, I’ve given in to laziness. I know that even if I just did five minutes of writing a day, it would be better than not writing at all and merely spending hours snarling at how crap The Big Bang Theory is.

But I also know (or at least hope) that I’m not completely alone in this. So, when you’re other life stuff gets hectic, do you still make time to write? How do you discipline yourself, or do you also resign yourself to watching The Big Bang Theory even though it’s rubbish?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

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Comments: 20

  1. Steven Chapman July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm Reply

    Slacker! Watching TV when you should be writing…you wouldn't catch me doing that! (I'm too good at hiding).

    If you get spare time during your working day (yeah, I know) then try scribbling away in a notebook – either ideas and flashes of inspiration of fully embellished scenes and bits of dialogue. Don’t be tempted to use the computer, you’ll only end up researching the best episodes of TBBT anyway (you love it really). That way when you get home you have a lot of notes that need to be typed up…really boring monotonous work, but no more boring and monotonous than Friends.

    I think I watch TV so I can switch off (no wonder if I switch off and tune out between work, it’s means I’m only alive during work hours – shudder), but copying notes from my hand written scribbles onto the computer is nice and switchy offy. I can tune out and let my fingers do the work, occasionally tuning in again to correct a sentence or to decipher a particularly awkward scribble.

  2. Steven Chapman July 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm Reply

    It’s this tuning in every now and again that sparks something off in my brain, the competitive element with myself to how much of my notes (might as well finish copying this sentence/paragraph/page), the editing that has to be done (what the hell was I on when I wrote THAT sentence), it gets my synapses firing and gets me in the mood to carry on.

    By the time I’ve realised what I’m doing I’ve finished copying out my notes and I’ve written a thousand words or so on top of that!

    Worth a shot!

  3. Sam K July 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm Reply

    I'm meant to be writing a "reflective commentary" every night for a course I'm on. Instead I like to look up old 80's cartoons. My particular favourite at the moment is Moondreamers, my favourite show as a child. If you feel you need another reason not to write I recommend watching Moondreamers. For your convenience the link to the first episode is here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae46rM6xFyM

    Although my favourite episode is this one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPZM-qOOTxE

  4. Steven Chapman July 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm Reply

    Oh noes! Rachael just kissed Joey!! I mean, erm *cough* tough bit of dialogue I'm on with at the moment…

  5. Simone July 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm Reply

    Ugh. I suffer from this ailment. I usually go into severe judgment, "if you really truly were meant to be a working writer, you'd be writing all the time… do you think stephen king watches tv? hell no." how the fuck does stephen king write so many books? how does anyone write a book? i also suffer from, "what's the point – you'll never get an agent or a publisher, so you're just wasting your time. you might as well watch tv and relax."

    so for July, i signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo – which is the summer version of what you recently did in November. and when i beat myself up, my new mantra is, "it doesn't have to be good, it just has to be 50,000 words."

    but seriously, how do people like Anne Rice and Stephen King not only write novels – but lots of them – with shit tons of pages…

  6. Jojiebean July 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm Reply

    your comment is almost as long as my entire post ;) j/k

    I think you're right though – I should at least make an effort copying up notes. At least it's something. Trouble is, I 'm no longer at that stage with my novel. So… do I start something new?

  7. Jojiebean July 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm Reply

    Oh. My. God. I *loved* the Moondreamers… Although, weirdly, I never saw the show. I had one of those books on tape things that also… came with a book.

    My favourite was Whimsy (the one with blue hair). I have no idea why – or why I remember that she was my favourite…

  8. Jojiebean July 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm Reply

    Busted.

  9. Jojiebean July 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm Reply

    You're so right! So often have I had these exact thoughts "How, Phillip K Dick, how did you manage to write so much," or "Stephen King, what are you on? How are you churning out so many novels?" They are questions that remain unanswered.

  10. Anna Nonamus July 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm Reply

    I firmly believe that some of our best life lessons come from old episodes of Friends, and procrastination. If we never procrastinate, we'd never learn that indeed, there are consequences to sleeping in after a raging night of re-runs. Or something.

  11. Sang Hee July 8, 2011 at 11:24 am Reply

    Yeaaah. This is exactly why I don't own a TV. But then again, I have videogames T_T
    But even then I manage to write every day. The thing is that if you don't feel like writing then you probably don't have anything to write anyways.
    Being a writer is useless if you have nothing to write. If you do have something to write then you automatically prioritize writing to everything else.
    To answer your question, I discipline myself by constantly convincing myself there is no time left to finish the novel. I put a lot of psychic pressure on myself to hurry and finish the job. And never resign. For me playing videogames is mindless activity where my mind is completely focused on thinking about writing. Some people just go on a balcony to take a smoke, I play games. The good thing about games is that they can sometimes inspire.

  12. Jojiebean July 9, 2011 at 9:40 am Reply

    You're right. I prefer to procrastinate hard, in order to learn hard. I like to procrastinate my arse off.

  13. Jojiebean July 9, 2011 at 9:41 am Reply

    Er… Did you just call me useless?

  14. Sang Hee July 9, 2011 at 10:47 am Reply

    No, I'm just saying that it all comes down to how much you really want to write. If you're really serious about it you won't let anything stand in your way. No boyfriends, family, pets, TV, games, hunger, mosquitos or the apocalypse itself.
    I guess that makes me half-serious but hey, at least I wrote those 50 pages for the past 3 weeks. So even if you wanna blame me for being a half-assed writer then I gotta tell you that I f-ing coaled it with sweat and blood.

  15. Jojiebean July 9, 2011 at 11:17 am Reply

    I don't remember blaming you for being a half-assed writer. On the contrary – isn't that what you're saying to me (see your comments above)? Besides. I'll be the first to admit I'm half-assed (see post above) and I don't really have a problem with that (hence the blog).

    To conclude, I'm not overly sure what point you're trying to make – if any. If it's that you're just spoiling for an argument or whatever, then neither myself or any of the readers of this blog are interested. If that's your bag, then may I suggest you take it elswhere.

    I like to take myself with a pinch of salt, and I appreciate anyone who has the ability to do the same.

  16. Sang Hee July 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm Reply

    Just trying to answer your question. Sort it however you want.

  17. alonewithcats July 11, 2011 at 3:49 am Reply

    I hadn't blogged in three weeks because when I came back from vacation all I wanted to do was watch "Buffy." I don't know why, either. I'm not a good person to ask about this topic.

  18. Brooke Farmer July 13, 2011 at 2:51 am Reply

    Have you ever tried committing to writing *something* EVERY day. Anything. I started my blog as a way to force myself into a habit of writing every day. Even if it's short, even if the quality isn't what I want it to be, I write a blog post damn near every day and on the rare occasion I don't it is because there is a real reason.

    Occasionally I write two.

  19. Jojiebean July 15, 2011 at 9:45 am Reply

    I don't know what it is. It's like an obscure fit of laziness. I could honestly play every part in every Friends episode, ever., I've seen them so many times. But still, glued to that sofa…

  20. Jojiebean July 15, 2011 at 9:48 am Reply

    Yeah, I've committed to writing every day a couple of thousand times before now. Although, I use 'committed' in a very loose sense of the word. The trouble was, I found life-type events getting in the way. Ultimately, I try to get back to writing as soon as I can, but when you're running late for your friend's wedding, no one's going to buy "I was writing in my notebook," as a valid excuse. But then again, no one's going to buy "I was watching a repeat of Friends" as a valid excuse either…

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