Feed Your Creativity With… TV?

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Feed Your Creativity

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of TV. It falls into the same bucket as social media, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, there are some good things about it, but there’s also a lot of negative stuff. Too much of the wrong stuff can rot your brain. Given how easy it is to get sucked into the negative, destructive, time- and soul-sucking stuff, I tend to stay on the side of using these things in serious moderation (as in, keep a timer next to you and shut it all down when your minutes are up), if at all.

However, I have discovered a use for TV: As a boost for creativity. (Again, use it moderation because it’s too easy for “I’m boosting my creativity,” to become an excuse for wasting time watching instead of creating. It’s no different from, “I’m researching my novel online,” and that becoming an excuse for losing an entire day to various internet rabbit holes. Not that I know anything about that…)

Watching shows that inspire you to create something awesome, or something worthy of appearing onscreen can feed your creativity. I think of it as an, “In case of emergency, break glass,” type of thing. If my creativity is slumping and all else (creativity boosters) has failed, high quality TV can help get me back on track. Sometimes. Other times it makes me want to stick my head in the oven.

If you’re stuck creatively and need a boost, try some of these shows or ideas for watching. Seriously, though, try other things first. Use TV as a last resort, particularly if you’re not working in film or TV. There are plenty of other ideas that are better for you and will likely give you a better boost without some of the negative side effects. But if everything else fails, here you go:


  • Great British Baking Show
  • Chef’s Table
  • Making It
  • The Repair Shop
  • The Writer’s Room
  • Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting
  • Trading Spaces
  • Lego Masters
  • America’s/Britain’s Got Talent. (Yeah, everybody sings, but every now and then you see someone who does something really outside the box.)
  • Shark Tank (Particularly if your creativity trends toward the entrepreneurial.)
  • Iconoclasts
  • American Masters
  • Comic Culture (PBS)
  • The Creative Brain

More ideas to juice up your TV viewing

  • Any show/content produced by creators you admire, or based on works you admire.
  • Excellent shows in your area of creative expertise. (Learn from the masters, in other words.)
  • Excellent shows not in your area of expertise. Sometimes you can derive inspiration from the creativity of others, even if it’s not something you’re personally likely to try.
  • Documentaries or biographies in your area of interest.
  • Things you can pick apart and reimagine better. (Bad TV sometimes has one redeeming feature and that’s your ability to see what’s wrong with it and think of ways to fix it. How would you turn that garbage show into a hit?)
  • Current event shows. NOT THE NEWS! The news is full of click bait and sensationalism. However, if you can find some shows related to current events (produced after the event has settled down a bit, the facts are known, and the show isn’t trying to cash in on fear/hysteria), you might find a nugget that becomes a plot for a script or novel. Things aren’t “ripped from the headlines” for nothing.
  • Future-looking shows. Shows that deal with the far future might inspire your own sci-fi or fantasy writing or art. What seems impossible today might be commonplace in the world you create.

(Image courtesy of blickpixel)

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