Stunt Writing Update – Observations on Entertainment Habits after Week 1

Hello loved ones!

The week is up, and results are in! My self-inflicted challenge as part of the online Stunt Writing course I’m taking was to observe my entertainment habits for one week. I took diligent notes on how I felt before selecting entertainment, what I selected, how I felt during and afterwards, and how much time I spent on entertainment. My hypothesis is that I could be spending more time on productive entertainment such as creative writing or spending time with friends, rather than mind-numbing entertainment such as watching tv shows that aren’t of much merit. I tried to be scientific in my field notes, but feelings are subjective and sometimes I had to recall information from a day or two before.

Findings:

Total time spent on entertainment over the week of Feb 3 – Feb 9:      16.1 hours

Breakdown:

susie entertainment chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions and Side Notes:

I do feel that this week was potentially more of an outlier with the number for friends and family time in person, as there were a number of social engagements planned for the week. It was great! My fiance David and I were honored to be thrown a party for our upcoming wedding by my dear aunts and uncles in SC. The time spent there catching up with friends and family passed too quickly!

I also found it perplexing whether I should count exercise as entertainment or not. Still feels like a chore. After debating with myself, I decided that it was a choice for my free time, so I did include it.

So this tells me that I’m not as bad off as I thought with watching tv too much, but I could still cut that number in half and dedicate the time to creative writing/creative projects! Let’s hope that next week’s breakdown shows more of a redistribution!

As for the total hours of entertainment – 16.1 hours out of 112 waking hours doesn’t seem so bad. It also seems reasonable when I break it down by day (16.1 hours over 7 days = 2.28 hours per day), so maybe I’m in a more normative range than I thought!

 

An observation of my week’s entertainment habits has led to this overall conclusion: more intentional entertainment choices result in greater satisfaction, sense of rest and even heightened energy.  

This past week I catalogued my entertainment choices each day after work. Options ranged from trash tv shows that required zero brain activity, to reading gripping fiction, to watching documentaries that challenged me, to creative writing, to phone calls with friends, to shopping, to dinner or hanging out with friends and new people. After reviewing my daily notes, I noticed that “lazier” entertainment choices left me unsatisfied and wanting more, sort of like empty calories for the brain. I flopped onto the couch and proceeded to watch one tv show (“Last Man Standing”), then another (“New Girl”), then another (a movie – “Prince & Me”), and afterwards only felt a dull sense of boredom and fatigue, and I had trouble even remembering what I’d watched. Seems like a pretty clear indication my brain was turning to mush rather than being strengthened. But another night I resisted the urge for “lazy” entertainment and chose to write instead on the Wren story I shared with you in another blog post. After just an hour of creative writing and a phone call with a friend left me feeling joyful, productive and excited. Plus, I noticed that the more intentional entertainment left my mind surging with energy, new words and ideas, and a “full” feeling.

To be the person I want to be – a full time novelist and engaged family member and friend – I’ve got to be intentional with my entertainment. After all, life is short, and each day counts!

I was especially excited to realize something another classmate has shared – that when you truly lose track of time while writing, you know it’s good! I experienced that as well. When my fingers were flying over the keyboard as the pages filled up with adventure and dialogue, with the occasional reach for another sip of rapidly cooling coffee, it was only after an hour or so that I looked up to see the clock blinking another hour. Surprise, laughter, relaxation – these were the fruits of my labors. I am looking forward to sharing my writing with some friends and family as potential readers/editors!

Please weigh in if you have any ideas to share on being purposeful and intentional with your free time. What works for you? Do you ever feel guilty spending too much time on entertainment such as tv? Do you think you would be surprised one way or another if you took notes on your own entertainment habits?

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