It’s a theme that I’ve seen more of lately, but it became much more crystallized when I was reading the other day – I’ve never seen a writer that suggests watching more television and they nearly all suggest watching less.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about focusing on the thing inside us that drives us:
We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognizing that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., But only by doing our work.
When Stephen King gives advice for writing he suggests reading and write a lot. King gets to seventy some books each year and writes that:
Reading takes time, and the glass teat takes too much of it.
Joseph Heller spent two to three hours a night writing Catch-22. In Daily Rituals there is this quote from Heller:
I gave up once and started watching television with my wife. Television drove me back to Catch-22. I couldn’t imagine what Americans did at night when they weren’t writing novels.
On the less famous, though just as effective front, Jamie Todd Rubin has ignored television and seen his writing count rocket like the fiction he writes.
At some point, just as incrementally as anything else, I began to give up things that distracted me. Over time, I found that there were 7 things that I’ve given up that I’m perfectly content without, so long as it frees up time for things I enjoy doing more.
From major models of fiction writing to smallish bloggers I admire – none of them are watching television.