Binge-Everything–It’s What Authors Do

Since I’ve had Netflix this past year, I’ve learned that I love to binge-watch shows. I’ve enjoyed old favorites, like watching every episode of MASH or Gilmore Girls in order and back-to-back. It makes a huge difference. For instance, I don’t think people realized how inconsistent MASH was. One day it’s freezing and the middle of winter. The next it’s boiling and the height of summer. Of course, the setting was exactly the same. Or you see that Gilmore Girls wasn’t just fun and filled with rapid fire repartee. When consumed en masse, the brilliance of the writing and plotting shows up. Okay, it’s a soap opera and very over dramatic, but I like TV-lite because it helps me not think about all the heavy responsibilities of my life.

I’ve discovered new shows, like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which was obviously written to be consumed in a binge style, and I’ve had a chance to watch shows that I didn’t catch the first time around, like White Collar (which I LOVED–consuming 6 short seasons in a week–don’t judge.)

But this phenomenon, while probably unhealthy, I have realized, typifies creative behavior. When I write, it’s not often in small spurts. Because it takes time to get my head into the story, I resist leaving that world. During the school year, I’m limited to writing for 2-3 hours at a time, but during the summer, I’ll go at it for 10-12 hours a day for a couple of weeks. I’ve learned that when I put down my work, I put it down for several days (or a week, as when I consumed White Collar.) When I return to my work, I’m fresh and committed. Or I put it down and do something else.

Is this behavior healthy? Probably not, but it’s cathartic, and who doesn’t love a good catharsis?

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