How Netflix is Training Me to Be a Better Writer

How Netflix is Training Me to Be a Better Writer

Netflix is my addiction. I’m not going to deny it, I embrace it. In fact, I designed a reward system for myself based on my Netflix viewing schedule for the month. You can totally steal the format and even the shows that are my rewards. Consider it my gift to you because I am a giver.

For those of you who have potty trained a child, you will understand this calendar more than others. I get a sticker and a Netflix reward for a job well done each day. Because writing my novel takes a week of effort, I get a really big gold star on the weekend representing the week to keep me motivated. We used the sticker calendar idea with both of our kids when we potty trained them. Big stars for big jobs, little stickers for smaller jobs. It worked a charm so I hope it will help me better than a chocolate reward system. Who am I kidding–chocolate. Chocolate is always better. But, since it is the beginning of the year, I’m going to try and be good with sweet treats until I ‘forget’ some time in February and scarf down a giant Costco-sized bag of mini Rolos or Smarties. They are each so small and adorable, they can’t be bad for me, right? One of them even makes me Smarter. Oh, I guess that means the other makes me Rolo-y-er. Maybe I’ll stay away from Mounds, Eat-More, Mr Big, and Chunky too. Are what you eat and all… I’ll replace Rolo minis with Payday. Whew, problem solved.

We spent New Year’s Day and January 2nd binging, as a family, The Good Place. OMG! I can’t love that show more but we are now to ‘live programming.’ Whoever invented live programming didn’t understand what TV viewing is meant to be. Networks, Schnetworks. Netflix gets me*.

Netflix recently published some infographics about Canadian viewing I thought I’d share because it proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am trendy. I’ve never been able to say that before, but I’m saying it now, with confidence, I’m trendy. Take that grade school bullies!

The Shows that Brought Us Together: I find #1 ironic. Poor Daphne had an especially busy homework weekend and my father was visiting from out of town when season two of Stranger Things was released. That didn’t stop Mister, Shaggy and I from downing it in two days while Daphne worked and my Dad read his book. We told Daphne that it couldn’t be helped and we had no control. Both of which were sort-of true. You know if you leave the remote alone all day, Netflix just knows you want more?! So… couldn’t be helped. I guess that is kind-of togetherness. Hey–we did watch 13 Reasons Why (mostly) together in 2017. We have teenagers, for crying out loud… we can’t duct tape them to the couch beside us every time we turn on the tube. Or, can we? (Mental Note: Must watch more cop and detective shows to determine the legality of this. Also, because my novel is a thriller, I can consider it ‘research.’ I’m a genius.)

Shows We Savoured: I am still savouring The Crown. I don’t like to be distracted during that show because it is so beautiful and I use it as a reward for getting my work and/or writing done. Considering I have three videos in edit and more than twenty blog posts in drafts, I won’t be deserving this anytime soon so I’m just going to have to cheat on my own rule. Hey, it won’t be the first time. If it is on the calendar, it shall be done.

I am a little disappointed that Netflix didn’t recommend Atypical after reviewing the trailers of those items we missed on these lists. Not a foolproof algorithm like the one that keeps telling me I need a new ski helmet. I haven’t fallen in years! Why, computer, are you judging me? I digress.

Shows We Devoured: You know I devoured American Vandal, but Mister and I also devoured The OA. So that kind of makes us cool. We would need to add Ozark to devoured. We just couldn’t stop that one. Again, the remote worked its magic and we got through it together. Real bonding occurred. It was beautiful.

Shows that Got us Cheating: Orange is The New Black is my favourite cheat show while Mister cheats with Narcos. We are both done and need new shows to pretend we are not watching. I started cheating with Mindhunter and realized it was too good not to share. I am giving that way because I only watched all the episodes and claimed I’d watched two and then watched everything again without letting on (until now). OK, I watched them when I had a series of migraines so I watched them by listening while a napped. I’m essentially a hero for not watching is what I am saying. Let’s recap: Now I am a giver, genius, and a hero. Just making sure you are keeping up.

Reviewing these Netflix lists I think The Keepers will be my next cheat after The Crown–nobody but me wants to watch that one (I know, I’m flummoxed!) so it can’t really be considered cheating if I openly admit my love for the show. I didn’t put The Keepers on my calendar though because it wouldn’t be cheating if I told the world. Also, plausible deniability is real folks… according to the shows I’m watching for ‘research.’

The kids started Riverdale last year and the boys binged Punisher. Daphne and I are working our way through The Fosters (she works ahead on that one often though). We all watched Manhunt: Unibomber and Mindhunter over the break because it was stupid cold here. Both were phenomenal shows and it is leading to my pitch of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency for our new family series that is available now with its first season. That and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and finishing Life in Pieces. Truly, school work is getting in the way of our quality family viewing.

I’m pretty stoked for The End of the F***ing World (the first season is available now) which is going to be a show Mister and I watch together. I started watching the first five minutes and realized that it would be a show to share (at least to start). Generous, I know. Add that to Giver, Genius, and Hero. I am an incredible person. It’s a curse.

Also, according to my calendar, I already gave myself a sticker for publishing this post today, so I pretty much deserve to sit in front of the TV and binge The Keepers. I know, I know, I should be writing my book, but it’s Netflix y’all. It can’t be helped.

Off to watch, I mean, to write. Gotta watch that. Not the show. Not ‘gotta watch that’ show. I gotta watch using the phrase ‘gotta watch that‘ I don’t reward myself before the work. You can’t get a potty calendar sticker before the work, even though I just gave myself a month of them. Gotta watch that I get the reward AFTER the work is correct. Not, gotta watch that–on Netflix. That would be wrong. Really, really wrong.


* Netflix sends me invites to parties and ships presents to me sometimes, so you’d think I’d be biased. But, in truth, no incentive required. Please don’t tell them for fear they ditch me as a #StreamTeam member. They sent me a giant bag of Twizzlers last year and momma needs her Twizzlers.


Having read this back, it was really frenetic. Given that, you might enjoy this article about when my editor called me, wait for it, frenetic and I tried adulting.


  1. Don’t receive Netflix so can’t really relate to the shows you watch, but I definitely get the reward system. I’m thinking of implementing one for my husband. Trouble is, after 47 years, I’m pretty sure there’s no reward tempting enough.

  2. What is this show “We Had Company, Netflix Day Off, UGH!”? It sounds intriguing but you don’t say anything about it. Actually all this reminds me how frustrating it is to see how much is available on Netflix. And sometimes I think my wife and I should get separate accounts. We share one right now and sometimes when she’s traveling this leads to her calling me up to say, “Would you please stop watching Bojack Horseman so I can get caught up on American Horror Story?”
    At least we watch The Crown together. As much as I want to rush ahead with that one I’ll never cheat. Especially since she’s not interested in A Series Of Unfortunate Events, and now you tell me Dirk Gently is available and I really want to get caught up on that.
    Netflix is obviously minting money right now but the real fortune will be made by whoever invents a time machine that allows us to fit in all the watching we want to do while not missing out on life’s other necessities.
    Christopher recently posted…Weirdness Drives Me.My Profile

    • I was thinking of a skull cap that you can wear to bed that just transmits the shows telepathically in replacement of all those falling elevator dreams.
      We did start watching Series of Unfortunate events and almost got through it but then we were distracted by something, which I can’t recall. Probably another shiny Netflix show. THERE ARE JUST TOO DAMN MANY!
      Now I remember we wanted to watch American Horror Story. Maybe that will be February. We have one account with five different ‘people.’ One I called ‘girl stuff’ so I can watch my cheat shows there and no one has bothered to even look.
      PS: I don’t recommend you watch the “We Had Company” show. It doesn’t really go anywhere fast and the dialogue often talks over itself.

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