Apr 23

T is for Throw away your television

Goggle box, boob tube, small screen, opiate of the masses, pictocube, or if you have kids…the babysitter – whatever you call your television I think we can agree that it’s a love/hate relationship for writer’s and their idiot boxes. Some have managed to switch off their television sets for good and to those people, I salute you! But others struggle to end a relationship which can potentially damage their dream career.

Whether you believe TV rots the brain or not, I’m assuming we can all agree it’s a huge time waster. Television, or as I like to call it, the UberGod of Procrastination™, is responsible for most of my downtime. As much as I hate myself for it when I get home from a tough day surfing the internet at the office the first thing I do (after letting the dog out) is turn on the television. I always tell myself I’m only turning it on to check what’s on tonight. What if there’s a horror film on that I haven’t seen? Or new episodes of that cool series that’s being advertised at the moment? I also tell myself that if there’s nothing on I’ll switch the set off and do some writing…yeah, you can see where this is going. I check the clock and find that it’s 2am, a blank page waits for me in my office but the lure of my bed becomes too much to resist…another day wasted.

Even as I write this post the television is on! I’ve tuned out from writing three times already! Ugh, even when I know I’m doing it, it’s hard to stop.

Of course TV can also be a great inspiration…there are many fantastic shows out there and plenty of awe-inspiring films. The trick is to learn your limits. There’s nothing wrong with watching a damn good movie, or catching up on that series you love, but channel surfing to the point of drooling on your sofa is a no-no. If you have to search for something to watch then you shouldn’t be watching TV. I know there will be some people that disagree with me, that think they have their TV habits under control – well done you people. But don’t ever, ever, EVER moan about not having enough time to write.

Throw away your television,
Take the noose off your ambition,
Reinvent your intuition now.
It’s a repeat of a story told.
It’s a repeat and it’s getting old.

Throw Away Your Television – Red Hot Chili Peppers

So throw away your television and curl up with a good book…it is World Book Night after all!


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  1. Totally agree! I live with two males who sit in front of the TV all the time and that drives me bonkers. And they aren’t writers!

    I do watch TV, but I watch only what I want to watch. And I agree that it can be useful. A recent -unnamed- programme I watched showed me how not to do writing. I still have no idea how the writers of said show managed to tell the story rather than show it when you could see what was going on!

    And I use TV as a reward for myself. Sometimes, it is good to waste a few hours in front of the square box. Only sometimes though.

    Happy World Book Night (and St George’s Day)

    1. Someone else hogging the TV would work for me, I do have to leave the room when my other half insists on watching some on the stuff she watches. But at least I get some work done 😀

  2. I think with any aspect of life you need to be disciplined. I could easily waste as much time watching TV as I could reading a book or playing Sims. If you’ve got the intention of writing, then you need to turn off/ move away all distractions, including the TV.

    1. I definitely lack discipline…I need to learn to turn off my TV and follow a strict writing routine. I suppose after a while I’ll get into the habit and stick with it.

  3. Oh… I wish I could. My daughter has chosen to do away with TV – they only watch stuff on iplayer and choose carefully.

    Trouble is OH works for the BBC so it’s not just something to watch, it’s a vital piece of research for him, and courtesy – looking at programmes your friends have made. And he has made of course.

    I actually stay in here in the evenings (the study) I can hear what is on, and just go in if I really want to watch, and do find if it’s on at a low level it can be helpful rather than silence. It’s when it piques your interest it’s hard to keep focused.

    And what is more – daytime TV, OMG, I’m surprised all our old folk, out of work people and those who are at home for one reason or other aren’t seriously depressed. Every programme is a tear jerker! From helicopter rescues of the seriously injured, to the RSPCA finding animal cruelty to the 60 minute make-over, to the will hunters reuniting people who lost their family to secret millionaire who gives loads of dosh to very deserving causes to the boss who goes undercover and finds his workers are loyal and committed… any of these, and that’s just a quick memory selection, has me blubbing hysterically.

    1. hehe, maybe I should try watching the tearjerkers then I might be too upset to watch anymore.

  4. I have to turn the telly off to get any work done, especially when Jeremy Kyle is on as I spend too much time yelling at the screen.

    1. I should try watching Kyle, that way I’d shove something heavy through the set and I wouldn’t be able to watch TV anymore 😀

  5. I love the Chili Peppers, but here’s a quote I love even more:

    “So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray,
    Go throw your TV set away,
    And in its place you can install,
    A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
    — Roald Dahl

    I barely watch any TV…but mindlessly goggling the Internet is my time-suck. Need to decrease that!

    1. That is a great quote. If only more parents followed Mr. Dahl’s advice 🙂

  6. I have a TV, but we don’t bother with cable. (We have rabbit ears and pick up the four major networks and three PBSs.) For the most part, I haven’t found anything worth watching since the days of Northern Exposure, The X Files, and/or Whose Line.

    (Although I AM looking forward to the next Sherlock series on PBS in May. He’s so creepy – I can’t help myself.)

    But, YouTube makes it oh-so-easy to find pretty much whatever I want these days. Just as dangerous as TV sometimes.

    Anyhow, great post! Thanks! 😀

    1. The problem is even though most stuff is crap nowadays I’m still happy to veg out and watch it…*sigh*

  7. Great “T” post. I’m fortunate to not be attached to my TV – I don’t turn it on unless I actually have a preset show on my phone which beeps to remind me to turn my telly on. (I am guilty of having two shows I like)

    Fortunately my hobbies and interests have a greater pull on me at this time in my life…might be different down the road!

    Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

    1. Sounds like bliss! I wish I could be that ruthless with TV!

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