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Add color to your writing by watching television

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More experienced writers may tell you that television isn’t good for your creativity; they’re obviously watching the wrong shows.

(Flickr: Steve Webster)

(Flickr: Steve Webster)

As writers, you’ve probably realized by now that there are reasons we watch our favorite programs and why even people who aren’t fans appreciate them.

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The plots are interesting; the characters are (usually) three-dimensional; the premises are unique; and the writing is fantastic.

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I’m not going to start listing the shows I watch and the reasons behind them, because I’m not saying there are certain shows we should all be watching. I’m saying the old adage that television rots your brain just isn’t true anymore.

Think about it:

We have series that span years and years and have become engrained in our social consciousness –just like books.

We have series that start trends across the industry –just like books.

We have series that begin to leak into our slang and our behavior and our clothes–just like books.

I can’t watch a show without being inspired to start a new project or continue another project using a new idea. Inspiration can come from anywhere, whether it’s learning about the religious aspects of the horror genre from “Supernatural” or proper law procedure from “Law and Order” or how to survive a zombie apocalypse from “The Walking Dead” or the exact value of porcelain tile from “Rehab Addict.”

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 You’re supposed to draw inspiration and information from everywhere and everything as a writer anyway. Don’t let the sages on the mountaintop of writing success fool you into thinking their methods are the only methods that will get you to the top of the mountain, too.

Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things. Everyone can be inspired by Agent Coulson or Detective Stabler or Alison DiLaurentis (hint: two of these characters originally came from the world of literature).

And beyond the great story lines and inspiration you can get from watching your favorite shows, you can also pursue a career in writing for television. You can actually be one of the people writing the episodes everyone is talking about around the water cooler.

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How could you attempt to write for television if you’re never actually watching it? Or you could start a career as a reviewer or jump start your book-writing career by somehow getting one of your novels onto television like Sara Shepard, Stan Lee, Robert Littell, George R. R. Martin, or Piper Kerman, to name a few from a range of genres.

Good television shows offer a rare opportunity to both relax and get in some valuable research and inspiration time. As writers, we’re bombarded by potential material all day, every day. Who says we don’t have to actively enjoy it at the same time? 

Nicole Aronis is an aspiring novelist and short story writer. She runs a writing advice and community blog at writerlywonderings.tumblr.com.

Nicole Aronis

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