14 Reasons This Artist Doesn’t Need Cable TV

1. I value creating more than consuming.

2. I don’t need to put my mind in neutral that many hours per week.

3. Instead of watching the story happen, I’d rather be telling the story or sharing the story myself.

4. It never helped me accomplish my dreams.

5. Movement begets movement. No movement begets no movement. (Click here to tweet that)

6. I’ll accomplished more with the extra 520 hours (10 hour per week average) per year. That’s 21.66666667 days–ouch!

7. I have a daughter and I want to learn her and love her.

8. I need to train my ever-wandering attention span to focus.

9. It’s all available online if I miss something really important anyway.

10. $. Time. Energy. (And the other commandments for creatives listed here)

11. I love the outdoors.

12. I’d rather not be fat–here’s proof that the more TV we watch, the fatter we become.

13. It doesn’t give me joy.

14. It isolates rather than creating community.


I’m by no means saying that artists shouldn’t watch TV. But for me, I don’t need that drug. I want to write, share ideas and get better connected. TV doesn’t help me do those things.

We cut the cord about two weeks ago. Sadly, the cable company still hasn’t disconnected our service–hmmmm, that’s reason 15–“cable companies never give you what you want–even if you want your service cancelled.”

(Update: have a different perspective on TV watching for creativity? So did Jeremy so he wrote this in response to the post you just read)

Question: What about you? Have you taken the plunge? Does TV hurt or hinder your creativity?

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Michael

    yikes… these are convicting… but then, I suppose that is the point.

    Thanks alot, Andrew.

    Seriously- thank you for this. Cable’s days are numbered in our home as well… soon.

    • We can do this thing!

      No, seriously. We can 😉 YES. WE. CAN!!!!

    • Wait….what? We are?? Okay. – Really? Even HGTV? How bout we cut out the Food channel…ya know – baby steps…

  • Papa Mike

    We haven’t had TV service in at least seven years (and then only because our daughter wanted to pay for it herself), and we were sporadic for twenty years before that. We do not miss it. People ask, “How can you be an actor and not like TV?” and I respond, “It is because I AM an actor that I don’t like TV.” The television format gets in the way of telling the story all the time. Our television set exists in our home as a video monitor for us to watch cinema of our choosing on our timetable — nothing more. You will not regret the decision to unplug. (Oh, and by the way, the cable companies don’t bother unplugging for the same reason all drug pushers keep the stuff available… they just want to hook you again.)

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Mike!

      I never thoughts about it, but your last statement about drug pushers…man, that’s probably true!

  • Don Draper. Walter White. Leslie Knope. Claire and Phil Dunphy… yeah, that list could keep going…

  • A few weeks ago I said to my wife,” it’s a whole lot easier to watch TV than it is to do something.”

    • That’s a great quote Jim. I’ll remember that when I’m tempted to plop down and veg out time and time again (via Netflix or the internet or…)

      • Thanks! I agree–you really have to be VERY intentional–or those TV shows, movies, whatever really SUCK you in!!!!

  • We cut the cable a couple of months ago. While there are some things I miss, I don’t miss it much. To supplement, we did get a Roku box to catch the shows we really want to watch. This has made our TV viewing much more deliberate.

    • I like that word ‘deliberate,’ Joe!

      That’s what we want and are shooting for as well!

  • A few years ago, I bamboozled persuaded my wife that we should cut the cord. Recently, in going over the bills, I realized we were spending more as cord-cuters (with the various subscriptions) than we would be with DirecTV. So after 3 years, we’re back with them. There’s more to it, of course, as she’s been having a rough go if it with her health. In addition to the savings (we changed ISP’s also), I was trying something (anything) to make her happy. We’ll see how that works out.

    • Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and now Redbox…there’s a lot to subscribe to (or to NOT subscribe to!)

  • Seth Dochter

    We have cable, but I don’t really watch it. I was actually made fun of this summer on vacation because they had an Internet connected Bly-ray player and all I would watch is Netflix and YouTube. I actually listen to a lot of audio podcasts throughout the week while I’m at work. I consume a lot of information in that time. It actually makes me less interested in consuming media after work when I want to create.

    • Podcasts are the best Seth! They help to get my imagination going–it’s like an old time radio show!

  • If I was to watch any random thing on TV, then yes, it would hinder my creativity. But, as of right now, I only watch one show which is off season at the moment – Sherlock. Before that, the only show I watched was House which is over for good. (so, I barely watch TV)

    Anyways, I think if you have a couple of shows you really love, then that will actually help your creativity. Some shows on TV are really smart and creative. It depends what you’re watching. I hear Community is really well-written. I’ve never seen it though. I love movies a lot more than TV, and I find a lot of creative inspiration from movies. Movies, are after all, created by a team of creatives. I try to appreciate all forms of creative work. Even TV shows (if they’re well done).

    • I agree, Denise! (And I’ve heard great things about Sherlock!)

      I think that working my schedule around a TV show or the ever-present temptation to ‘veg out’ is what hurts me the most and a primary reason we ‘cut the cord.’

      But I will be checking out Sherlock eventually 😉 Thanks for dropping by the blog!

  • I have the very basic, stripped down version of cable at home, and very rarely watch it. There are some days where it’s nice having cable – like when I’m sick or just need to veg for a bit – but I’ve been pretty good at not letting it rule my life or interfere with me dream. I may cancel it at some point, though. I really only use TiVo and watch a small handful of shows that way. I could save some money by cutting that cord.

    • $. Time. Energy.

      I’m just not that disciplined…I’m amazed at folks that have it and can hold back, like you!

      • Well, I’m no where near perfect in it, but I try my hardest. Most times it’s just that I have too much to do to watch TV. lol

  • When we moved back to North America from Singapore in 2004, we decided not to buy a satellite dish. Twice in our 9 years here, we have considered (no more than 24 hours) a “great deal” that came along for a satellite connection. We could get all set up…

    After all, we…

    *live in the country (village, population 400)
    *have long winters here in northern Ontario (still have snow on the ground RIGHT NOW, in APRIL!)
    *live 50 miles from the nearest movie theatre

    And yet, we never got a dish, never got cable, never never never.

    Instead, we buy DVDs, which is an intentional purchase and an investent in our home entertainment. I look at stocking the DVD shelves like stocking the bookshelves–we want good stories, well told, that we can revisit again and again.

    So much good from avoiding cable TV, not least of which is that our four kids don’t get bombarded by a gazillion commercials igniting passions in them for cheap toys, lousy junk food, and other in appropriate things for the below-10 viewers. Instead of passively imbibing constant TV, the kids draw, paint, play the piano, read, make up magic shows (yes–even the 3 year old!), write stories, compose poetry, act out dramas, perform puppet shows, build tents….and this is just what they do INSIDE!!! 🙂

    And, having grown up in a household that had the TV on non-stop as entertainment and empty company and background noise, I revel in a greater peace.

    It’s not easy but it gets easier. And easier. And easier. 🙂

    • So good! So inspiring! Man, Susan! Magic shows, drawings, piano–come ON!!!! LOVE THAT!

      Inspiring. Thanks (as always)!

      • Yes, I knew you’d get a bang out of the magic show!! Helen’s put on 3 so far and Reuben and Dorothy 1 each…Ethan knows it’s out of his range and so contents himself with being a captive audience member. Last magic show (about a week ago), Helen drew up her own poster to announce it and hung it on her door.

        IN FACT…ok, on one visit to Sherry and Hank’s house (remember, they’ve got 6 kiddos now), we hadn’t been there 10 minutes when, on assembling all the kids around the lunch table, the GIRLS announced, “Now, boys, we’ve arranged a little puppet show after lunch, so if you could come upstairs to watch when we’re done here…” 10 minutes!!!! And it was good.

        So fun. 🙂

  • My wife and I have never had cable/sat/etc but were quite addicted to it several years ago. We had our 1-2 shows we had to watch every night. It was ridiculous that we planned our week around the shows. (this was before DVR)

    At some point we realized it dumb to do that. So we quit and haven’t looked back. We still watch a show here and there but it’s rare. We only have 1 tv in our bedroom and it’s mostly for movies, FRIENDS (our favorite show of all time of which we own the series) and for my son’s movies. He’s 3 and maybe gets an hour a day on a good day.

    It’s funny to see my generation and younger not caring about tv nearly as much as my parents. Theirs is on probably 18 hours a day whether they’re home or watching it or not. That just doesn’t compute with me.

    And lastly, I wonder if those scissors would actually cut that cable. 😀

    • 1. Friends is stellar.
      2. True, our generation is growing unimpressed with trying to be constantly impressed by tv.
      3. Not sure about the cord cutting, but it did work on my daughter’s cord…

  • Totally love the points. I do watch TV from time to time but I haven’t really found it getting in the way of my creativity and community in a long time. I have become a lot more intentional about it, ie watching stuff at certain times (and specific things) rather than just veging out for evenings at a time. This is in an effort to seek out inspiration (one method of doing so anyway), and so is a catalyst rather than a blocker to creativity.

    On another note, I have found exercise to be a good thing to do instead of watching TV for hours. It perpetuates attention away from the box and into more vibrant and alive things.

    • Yes, Andy–I think we have to take it on a case by case basis.

      Some people aren’t bent toward sweet or salt–some are.

      TV is another one of those addictions that affect some while others, not so much.


    Another great blog Andrew! Thanks for sharing. LIFE!

  • I wish more people would make this decision. Life is too short to be wasted in front of a tv. Don’t get me wrong, tv has its place, but it doesn’t need to be a constant. I have never subscribed to cable/satellite, ever, and that is something I would never change.
    Fresh air and active fun is far more rewarding than drivel filled sitcoms any day.

    • Preach it. Just seeing your Instagram feed is inspiring–and I’ve yet to see a pic of you watching TV. Nice.