Friday, September 23, 2011

TV and Time Management for Writers

Okay, I admit it, I like to watch TV. And living alone, it is sometimes nice to have some noise around the place other than the cats playing and those sounds of the house settling which your own paranoid mind turns into a serial killer in the next room. Okay, maybe that's just me. However, you can get your TV fix and write. Here are a few tips:

1. Write during commercials and station breaks. The average network TV show has 20 minutes of commercial breaks per hour. In three hours of TV, that's an hour of potential writing time. Just leave everything set up, then either mute the commercials or slip out of the room and go do a power write, edit a few paragraphs of a WIP, answer an email from an editor or client. Each break is 3-5 minutes long. It's amazing how much you can accomplish in that time. 

2. Work while watching. Okay, I'm not one who can write while the TV is playing. However, I can run a spell check on a document during that time. I can also run a search for some research materials online. What are some things you can do while watching TV?

3. Time Shifting. I have Comcast Cable on-demand. I pay a bit extra each month, but most of my favorites shows are available after midnight, the day they air for about a month or two depending on the show. I can even watch part of the show, stop it and come back to it later and pick up where I left off. DVR's and, if you are old school, VHS can help you save programs for another time. Also many are available in full episodes online at places like Hulu and Fancast and the Network websites. Right now one of my favorite shows is on, but I decided to work here for a while and then crawl into bed and watch CSI:NY at my leisure. 

4. Only watch what you want to watch. Now, this one really hits me between the eyes. Sometimes I find myself staring at the tube watching something that doesn't really interest me just because it is on. Sometimes I click up and down the dial over and over again when I could take that time to write. I understand compromises need to be made with families, but what I mean by this is don't just keep watching a show that is boring you silly when you don't have to. Turn it off, or just slip away if others are enjoying it, and take that time to write, edit, research, catch up on email whatever helps with you writing.


  1. All good advice. We have Netflix and love the choices of movies and tv shows. We have dropped the cable/dish in favor of antenna. Lots less hassle in our life. I know what you mean about mindlessly watching cause the TV is on. Some of the comedies are definitely time wasters. Who wants to see people arguing, disrespectful teen-agers, and bathroom jokes? I find I get a lot more writing done without TV.

  2. I love this. Best of all, I've been practicing these points for quite some time. I thought I was wicked. Darn, guess I'm just another adaptable author. haha

  3. I have the TV on alot around my hous I am definitely not a TV snob.

    I like TV. Better than movies. Movies are too long for my tastes. But it doesn't have to keep you from writing, Joylene. Just because we write books, doesn't mean we can't watch Pawn Stars or CSI or something


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