Writers Wednesday: Pulling the Plug

It’s Day 3 of our unplanned week without television. Lo and behold, we’re getting things done!
We spent one evening splitting firewood; the next, walking around our property, giving our dogs some exercise and taking slightly-past-their-prime apples down to the horse pasture. This morning, I finally got around to dealing with some of the zucchini from my garden. (Side note: I used this muffin recipe. It was delicious!) My folks would probably laugh at such regained productivity—they haven’t had TV in their home since 1998.

See the deliciousness that unplugging gets you? Muffins! But you’ll have to bake your own; I’m not coming over there.

Earlier this weekend, my in-laws came over for dinner and a furniture-moving party. A friend of mine is helping us out with some projects around the house. It was only after we lugged a lot of very heavy items off into adjoining rooms and everyone else left that it dawned on us: We had accidentally unplugged our main satellite receiver. 

Sure, if we really, really wanted to, we could have gone back into the dark, crowded storage room depths and started yanking out the piles and piles of wires (so many wires!) and hauled a batch of them off to attach to a different television and set of outlets. That sounded like a pain. After 10 minutes of tugging on random cables, I confirmed that indeed it was, and that was that. We have a few series on DVD from our broke college student days, of course, but the regular TV package? The DVR? It’s off, and it’s going to stay off until it’s officially time to put all our furniture back into place. I just don’t feel like carting that thing around. It’s heavy.

Coffee and a zucchini muffin, waiting for me to sit down and write this post. 

Screen time is addictive. I like background noise when I’m doing household chores, but today’s edition wasn’t my usual lineup of home improvement and cooking shows. Instead, I got a secondhand serenade from the aforementioned acquaintance as he puttered around the place, turning up a boombox and singing along while he worked. With the TV off, the dirt on my kitchen floor and all the things on my to-list became that much more noticeable. We have our internet, of course, and we both spend plenty of time online as it is. Although we aren’t completely cut off from civilization, it’s still startling every time we go through a limited screen period like this and realize just how big a time suck these devices can truly be.


We need moments like this, to unplug, detach, get away, reset our creative cycles. As writers, we face distractions daily in the quest to get something (anything?) down on a page. Our plethora of electronic devices, I suspect, is one of the worst.

My challenge to you this week is to banish one of your distractions. Just one. Unplug it, hide the batteries, put it away in a drawer, drop it at a sitter’s, whatever you have to do! You’ll love how productive you’ll feel.

Until next time, top of the muffin to you!