How the Boob Tube Made Me a Smarter, Wealthier Writer by Jennifer Brown Banks

How the Boob Tube Made Me a Smarter, Wealthier Writer by Jennifer Brown Banks

It seems counter-intuitive at first. The premise that a recreational activity could actually provide professional gains. But, it’s true. Being a “couch potato” can get you fed! Not to mention, starches can be good for you.

As a writer with over 700 articles, essays, poems, columns, and blog posts published and paid for, I can attest that it works if you work it!

Consider this. According to a Nielsen survey, the average American spends over five hours each day watching T.V. It just makes sense to turn this popular, passive pursuit into active income. I have.

Here’s a case in point. Last month, I was watching the morning news when one of my favorite comedians was being interviewed about an upcoming venue performance. As he talked about his life story, and his little daughter’s hilarity, I had a “light bulb moment.” That interview inspired me to write a humorous article: “Finding the funny in family.” My piece sold for 60 bucks the following week.

I’ve also used TV viewing for character development, plot ideas, reviews, and other creative projects. And, you should, too. Even bad programs can have good teachable (marketable) moments.

You can mix business with pleasure, if done correctly. Below are some questions to guide your efforts, and better inspire your writing in the future. Put the “U” in success by asking these idea-provoking questions.

  • What creative techniques or approaches were used to draw the audience in? Drama? Humor? Suspense? How can you use it to write more effectively?
  • Was the title of the show intriguing? Did it accurately describe the show’s content?
  • What did the show teach you about addressing the “entertainment” needs of an audience?
  • Was the program a time piece? If you were to create a time piece, what would be your favorite time in history to write about?
  • What did the show teach you about human relations (if anything)?
  • How would you change the ending of the show if you were the writer?
  • Do you find the current “reality shows” realistic? Why or why not?

Assess and apply your answers accordingly.

Whenever I tune into T.V., I do so with a critical and discerning eye. I know that what I see can potentially influence what I write and sell.

Television is a great way to increase your productivity and say bye-bye to writer’s block. The “boob tube” can be a smart medium to enhance your creativity and your bottom line.

Try it – popcorn optional.

JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning poet, and serves on the board of directors of a prominent arts organization in the midwest. Her blog (Pen & Prosper) has been recognized as a “Top Blog for Writers” for five consecutive years. When she’s not writing, she enjoys tea, reading, cooking and a good bargain sale.

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