As a writer you have to fend off demands on your brain power – and find inspiration and tips wherever you can. In recent times this has been tricky. Staying in helps with writing. But mentally, we’ve maybe not been looking for distraction and escape.
Enter on-demand content. There’s the big daddy Netflix of course, but also Amazon, Apple TV, and now Disney+. On top of that many terrestrial services have on-demand options. And there are also piles of podcasts and the rabbit hole that is YouTube. Overall, this isn’t good news for any WiP that you might be striving away on and may leave you feeling guilty about your lack of progress. But let’s look at the good side of this particular indulgence.
It’s good to take a break
Taking time to relax is not a bad thing. I repeat it is not a bad thing. Society is forever telling us we should be “productive” 24/7 (often under the guise of being inspirational) but this simply isn’t possible. Your hobbies don’t have to be side-hustles, you aren’t required to always be “on it”. Time off is important, mentally and physically, especially in tricky times. And if that involves you metaphorically chowing down on the entirety of Downtown Abbey on a Sunday afternoon then so be it.
It can be a learning experience
All that being said, it’s also true that we writers can learn from what we watch. Screenwriters obviously can. But novelists and short story writers too. There’s plenty to absorb about the dos (and don’ts) of narrative and character. With so much content out there, writers have to become skilled at catching their audience. Fresh, original stories and characters are key. There have been many failures as well as successes, providing their own opportunity to learn. Even if you’re not up for taking notes, your unconscious mind may well be doing so.
Are you a binge-watching fan? What’s your favourite show – and what have you learnt from it? Please share in the comments!