18 August 2011

Why I watch TV

I have to admit something to you.

I watch too much TV.

My office space is currently in our living/dining room area*, and I can see the TV from my desk. So when I'm working, I usually have something on for background noise. Law & Order reruns on TNT, Storage Wars on A&E, or whatever horrible B movie happens to be on the Lifetime Movie Network. (I know. Don't judge.) Most of time I'm not paying attention to what's on, but sometimes I get drawn in to a show or movie, and find myself writing a bit slower than I should in favor of seeing Six from Blossom as a college student rushing a sorority.

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But I've learned to use my too-much-TV-watching to my advantage. If I'm drawn in to a show, obviously there's something good about the dialogue and story, right? So when I find myself watching more TV than writing, I try to listen to the dialogue and dissect it. What is it about these lines that's made me want to watch? What does the dialogue tell me about the characters? About the story?

When I was in college, my husband (then boyfriend) and friend would try to get me to play video games with them instead of writing. Once my friend said that I should play video games because it was "for my craft." It was research...or something. After a while, we jokingly justified anything by declaring it "for the craft."

One of the good things about being a writer is that you get inspiration from anywhere, and since you draw from life for stories, all things in life can be source material. Anything can be "for the craft." Sure, the college coffee-stained writer used it as an excuse to play video games and go for a coffee run instead of writing, but there's a lot in life that can be used to help strengthen your writing.

Including TV.

*This fall my office space will be moving to the closet in the master bedroom. It will give me a door I can close, shelves for my files, and privacy when I need it for a deadline (or call with a client). I'm super excited to have an official office, even if I have to share it with my clothes and shoes!

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