blank old TV screen representing 30 Day No Netflix Challenge
Can you go 30 Days?

 

Hey there, writer friend…stay with me. I want to invite you to join me for a 30-Day No Netflix Challenge.

First things first: don't panic.

You’d want me to tell you if one of your important relationships seemed a little too one-sided, right?

I’ve had this funny feeling lately that as much as you love it, all of the quality time you’re giving out (is it hours and hours each week?) isn’t being reciprocated.

Netflix doesn’t love you back.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love some Netflix. When the pandemic first hit, I rewatched the entire 7 seasons of Scandal. For the third time. And while I was trying to remember who had shot the President this time and would Olivia manage to win despite all the odds (uh, yes), other people were unable to resist the lure of an exotic animal zookeeper named Joe Exotic. (This was Tiger King, the show The Atlantic called “the moral equivalent of licking the subway pole.” Might be trash TV but it generated some excellent writing!)

 

A 30 Day No Netflix Challenge for Writers

Want to do some really horrific math with me?

Each Scandal episode is about 45 minutes long, which coincidentally is also my ideal writing session length. Uh-oh. I think we can see where this is going…

7 seasons, with +/- 22 episodes, each of them 45 minutes long. 

That would be 6,930 minutes.

154 writing sessions worth of minutes.

In a typical writing session, I can write 6 pages. (That’s my personal pace writing new work long-hand. Yours will be different. Have you checked it out lately? Makes for some interesting math!)

154 writing sessions x 6 pages = 924 pages. 

Novel lengths vary of course, but just for fun let’s say we need 300 pages.

In that case, my pandemic Netflix binge cost me 3 novels worth of pages.

That hurts, especially since I am actually working on a novel right now. Scandal probably cost me a completed first draft, and maybe also a revision.

And this was me binging a show I’d already watched twice, because there just really isn’t that much good stuff on Netflix, or Hulu or wherever we’re getting our screen jollies these days. If you’re tempted to argue with me on this, because you think Scandal or The Good Wife or your personal fave TV show or movie is actually really well-written, well…you might be right. But let me ask you this:

Is it good enough to trade in for achieving your writing dreams?

For me, there’s just no TV that good.

I get it — when this coronavirus crisis all started, it was HARD. We didn’t know what was coming, one day to the next. And it’s still hard in many ways, but the difference is that now we know more or less what we’re dealing with, and we’ve had times for our psyches to adjust. I’m grateful to Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes (and that amazing soundtrack!) for getting me through those early nights. But that was then, and this is now. 

It’s time, friends. It’s time to break up with Netflix. (Or break up again, for some of us.)

Not forever, necessarily. Just for long enough to remember that our writing dreams, and our writing practices, are important to us and we don’t want to trade them in for the temporary pleasure of consuming the product of someone else’s writing dreams.

Join me for A 30 Day No Netflix Challenge for Writers

So as of today, I’m taking a 30 Day Netflix break. We’re not saying good-bye forever, we’re just on a break, just like Ross and Rachel.

When I say Netflix, I also mean Hulu, Disney+, Crave, Acorn, BritBox: all our streaming channel addictions.

And I want to invite you to join me.

For 30 Days, replace your Netflix time with a mix of writing and reading. Or anything else that isn’t TV and will move your writing dreams forward. Here are some ideas:

  • Write.
  • Create a reading list for your current work-in-progress and read from that.
  • Create a writing craft reading list and read from that.
  • Research something related to your work-in-progress.
  • Get some writing friends on a Zoom call and talk about your writing.
  • Go for a walk and think through your book's structure.
  • Apply for a writing grant, or a residency…for when all of this ends.
  • Send out some poems or stories for publication.
  • Write some more. (Try writing something you haven’t written before!)

 

If you click HERE you can find a No Netflix Tracker Sheet as a Google Doc. (Hit File, then Make a Copy or Download to get your own version of it.) The tracker sheet can be printed or completed on your computer, and will total your page counts for you at the end of the 30 day period. There's also a section to write one word each day on how the challenge is feeling for you on that particular day.

I’ll be giving updates every Friday at noon Eastern over on my Facebook page as the next 30 days go by. Come join me and let me know how this temporary break-up is going for you.

And at the end of the 30 days, I’ll do some giveaways so we can have a bit of fun with this as well. 

To enter the giveaways, all you’ve got to do is email me your completed Tracker sheet. Even an incomplete or imperfect sheet counts — we’re not trying for perfection here, we’re trying to just a bit better today than yesterday. You can reach me by email at rhonda[at]rhondadouglas.com. 

I'm posting this on April 24th, 2020…to give everyone time to gird their loins and get ready (or *ahem* finish up those last few episodes!) we'll start with Day 1 on Thursday, April 30th, and the giveaways will be held on Saturday, May 30th.

 

Grab your 30 Day No Netflix tracker and join the challenge!

A 30-Day No Netflix Challenge