With two children, a full-time job, six to eight hours a week of commuting, a dog, a cat, a reading habit and a (bit of) a social life, it seemed like I was kidding myself when I decided to blog. I considered it for a long time, talked to some other committed bloggers I knew, and realized that putting out five hundred words or so several times a week would in fact give me more than it took from me, and it has. I love to write so much I'd blog if nobody at all read what I put out there, but my tracking service tells me otherwise, which encourages me enormously.
But how on earth, people ask, do I find the time? My kids are a little older and their father and I share parenting, so I do have a few extra minutes there. I've gotten through fewer books in the nine months since I started my blog, and read less "real" news and spend more time looking for cool blogs to inspire my writing. What I don't do much of is watch television.
An IBM math genius built a model to determine exactly how much time Americans spend watching the tube. Are you sitting down? It's 200 billion hours a year. That's five or six hours a day for most people. This is how the most powerful nation on earth spends its time.
I watched a ton of bad t.v. when I was a kid, even with only five channels via our rabbit ears, as in the sticks cable was a long time coming. I didn't have many other options when it was 20 below for nearly half the year. My kids certainly watch it, and although I limit it, they sit in front of the set more than I know they should. But friends my age who didn't get to see much or any at all became complete junkies as adults, saying they felt like they couldn't be cool unless they knew what had happened on last night's Cheers. These days, I often find my children turn off the Disney Channel in boredom on their own, which means they may be figuring it out for themselves.
A solid argument can be made that the internet is hardly a highbrow alternative. And most people find they are too tired to read after a long day at work. But ask yourself---are you giving up cherished goals because you have to see the latest episode of Jersey Shore? Are you not pursuing a higher education? Not writing the novel or screenplay you know you've got in you? Putting off getting in shape or learning to speak a new language? How much more could we accomplish as a nation if we turned off the television for one evening a week and volunteered?