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Crafting Your Writing Life Part V: Turn off the Television

August 8, 2007

If you are serious about creating a career as a professional, published, paid writer, the biggest gift you can give yourself is to turn off the television.

You CANNOT craft original material if you’re sitting in front of the TV.

In order to create, you need to focus your entire mind and body on your work, not just a portion of it. If you’re concentrating on the latest episode of your favorite show, or even if you have it on just for “noise” or “company”, you are short-changing your work and yourself. And, no matter, what, the style and tone of whatever you’re watching is going to filter in to what you have on the page.

This doesn’t mean you’re never allowed to watch television. In fact, you can learn a good deal from both well-crafted and poorly-crafted shows, especially if you want to write in that medium. But keep your watching separate from your writing. And, when you have the television on, genuinely watch it – don’t have it on as background noise.

In order to craft a successful writing career, you need to create work in your unique voice. There are a limited number of plotlines, storylines, etc., and a vast array of how characters interact. But what will set you apart from the pack and draw in an agent, an editor, and, finally, an audience is your unique way of presenting your story, your way of engaging and enchanting your reader.

And you can’t do that with a television blathering in the background.

Devon Ellington

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