Well, reading, watching TV and my interests are the same way. I wish more than anything reading wasn’t included in that and that I read a little, consistently, everyday but I don’t have time and thats why my TBR pile is over 200 high. So what do I do?
I sit for hours and zone out, ogling whatever the latest TV series is and indulge in episode after episode until I am so saturated with the programme or book series that I actually have to readjust when I put it down! When I’ve talked about this kind of behaviour before, there’s seemed to be a bit of stigmatism around the act of binge indulgence. I get it. It’s not productive in terms of life admin and chores, and it does brew a bit of laziness, but you know what? When I thought about it I realised that actually, it’s a kind of helpful thing to do as a writer.
There’s never been an occasion when I have fallen into a binging spree that I haven’t been inspired. When I binge, it’s usually because I have fallen in love with a series, or a book or a character. For example, I binge read a guilty pleasure – Charlaine Harris’s True Blood novels, I read the first one (Dead Until Dark: A True Blood Novel (Book 1)) in like, a day! And then I powered through the following 12 books over the next 8 weeks. I read four on our week long holiday! My wife didn’t see me for two months whilst I selfishly indulged in the books and fell into their world. I have just done the same with Once Upon A Time a TV show, I am now impatiently waiting week on week for Netflix to release the next episode.
What’s my point? My point is, going on a binge beats writers block. It allows you to forget your woes, your own obsessions with your book babies and allows you to slip into other fantasy worlds. It’s escapism. It’s what we write for, we want to do this to other people, so why not experience it for ourselves. And what better way to inspire you back into writing than to enjoy getting lost in your fave show/book/series.
There’s nothing like a bingefest to get your imagination going. I have this thing… when I finish a series I have binged on, I feel, bereft. Literally. As I close the final page, I sort of wake up, open my eyes and all of a sudden I am back to reality. With the god awful realisation that I don’t in fact live in Bon Temps, Louisiana, nor am I a vampire, and I am neither Sookie Steakhouse nor her friend in real life. It hurts. Like bad. Because for a minute there, we were braiding each others hair, and biro-tatting BFF on each others arms.
Seriously. Is it just me? Or does anyone else get so sucked in on a binge that real life disappears? My point is, we can learn from this. From the fireworks it gives our imagination and the depths we can be sucked into. We writers need to deconstruct and analyse what happens to us as we fall into a binge, and then replicate, replicate, replicate.
If I think about the True Blood series, it was the world she created. I hadn’t read a vampire story in which the world at large new they existed. I thought it was unique, and it instantly drew me in. I also loved the love story that ran through it. Right up till she ruined it at the end of the last book!
Are my binge words just getting weird now? Well binges force one to concentrate, hard, and for long periods of time.
So no excuse for not concentrating next time you need to get a post out, or smashing 1667 words every day of NaNo November. If you can binge watch/read you can binge write.
This for me is the out right winner. If you can binge watch and concentrate then surely you can binge on research too? I talked about the importance of getting out and doing actual research recently in my post 5 Reasons Writers Should Be Secret Agents.
But now I’m transferring the skills I have for binge indulgences, into research. By submersing myself into book topics, times, locations and clothing etc so that I know everything there is to know on the topic. It ensures my books credibility whilst doing it quickly (given it’s a binge) resulting in an all round winner for effectiveness and efficiency.
And there’s nothing I like more than something that’s both effective AND efficient!