The T.V. Trap

After taking the leap and working from home with a dedication to words, I have developed hyper-awareness as to what devours my precious writing time. Having a little one at home really highlights what Virginia Woolf was talking about when she said women writers need money and a room of their own to be able to write. Children love to cling to their mother’s rightfully so, so how do I commit to writing? Being a mom as a full-time job makes writing for me a necessity on the priority list. Back in January, I made a deal with myself that I would commit to writing everyday. I figured if I was to embrace “The Writer’s Midwife” persona, it would be imperative that I “walk the talk,” as they say.

After we finished our first (and very successful) workshop, Skin & Stories, I was very tired. I was sad to say goodbye to a group who had created such a safe space on Monday nights for writing and inspiration. Those Mondays, as I’m sure many of the students would agree, kept my writer-self fueled for the entire week. Luckily, there are some students who still carry journals and steal away writing time in parking lots and movie theatres…whenever they get the chance. This was my dream for the workshop and it is uplifting to know that it has been realized. For me, I slumped into a funk when the workshop ended. I tried to write everyday, but it was a chore and I even missed some days which was unheard of up until that point. I started retreating to my basement and watching T.V. ..Television! I soaked in reality shows and even some sitcoms. When I came out of my funk a couple of weeks later, I couldn’t believe how much creativity had been wasted on that box. There was no inspiration.

On the other hand, reading books begets writing. I always feel inspired by the dance of words on the page and it encourages me to write things I hadn’t thought of through silence and the breath. Music does the same thing. One of my most productive days out of the week is when I’m traveling 40 minutes one-way to tutor. Listening to music and feeling the car’s grip on the road always accumulates lists of things for me to write about upon arrival. But the television sucks it out of me and I am left without even an inkling to pick up a pen. Television serves it’s purpose for me when I don’t want to think or feel inspired, but it is rare that I choose this. In fact, the television was removed from our living room and currently hides away in the basement. Since, I do a lot of writing in my living room and host my writer’s group here as well, I decided to dedicate the entire space to creativity. It was strange to get used to, but months later I can’t imagine it any other way. Incense spills into the crevice where the  t.v. used to sit and an altar of candle light decorates the open space. The sound of leaves grooving to the breeze enters into the open window.  Books litter the walls of this place. It is the perfect distance away from the tea kettle, so my mug is always full. It is my creative sanctuary.


What’s more, there will be other workshops (in the fall) and we will hold each other accountable then. For now writing remains was it always has been, a solitary act. I disallow the television to call my name and stop the ink from flowing. I will heed to my journal’s beckoning call and write and write and write.

I hope you join me this summer. I would love to hear your struggles and triumphs in your daily writing. What encourages you? What stops you?

Happy writing!

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Filed under The Writing Process

4 responses to “The T.V. Trap

  1. Zen

    Are you sure you weren’t just watching the wrong things? I’ve often found that watching TV inspires me to write. There are so many thing I can pick up and twist into something that’s completely my own. Then again… I’m the opposite. I don’t get any inspiration when reading books… sure they inspire me to write great books like them, but they don’t give me anything I can work with.

    To each their own, I suppose! =]

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic of “committing to writing”. It’s encouraging to know that there are other writers out there who persist in writing, even when it isn’t possible to have a room entirely to oneself. I also happen to be maintaining a daily writing routine (my guides include Jane Anne Staw’s book, “Unstuck” and this blog). Accordingly, I can certainly empathize with your appreciation for “creative space”; it’s amazing how much one’s physical environment can influence one’s state of mind, for better or worse. I can also relate with the challenge of balancing one’s responsibilities to oneself with one’s obligations to others. I think I’m figuring it out, although it can still be a struggle at times!

    This entry has inspired me to contemplate the factors which facilitate and inhibit my own writing process. Although I’ve worked through similar exercises as I’ve been reading the book “Unstuck,” I found that it helps to re-evaluate what is working and what isn’t as one’s circumstances change. This piece of yours has gotten me thinking about that topic again, so thanks for that.

    I wish you all the best in your creative endeavors!

  3. Reblogged this on The cat with no tail reveals the unspoken. and commented:
    This blog entry has inspired me to contemplate the factors which have been facilitating and inhibiting my own creative process lately.

  4. Pingback: A living wage and a room of one’s own. « The cat with no tail reveals the unspoken.

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