I feel like I already wrote this article, but I can’t find it anywhere and so perhaps it was a dream. Either way, here are a few of my thoughts on why documentaries are awesome.
Documentaries are great because they’re a passive form of learning that allows you to pick up some stuff while you’re just having fun. I mean what’s the alternative, reality TV?
I’m a passive consumer of a lot of content. My television is right next to my three monitors, and I’m usually sitting in front of them and working on something. I’m a big multitasker and I hate working in silence, so I almost always have either Spotify, Netflix or YouTube on.
I don’t listen to as much music as I used to what with one thing and another, and when I spend time on YouTube it’s a much less passive experience. I’ve been participating more and more in the BookTube community and so half the time, it’s my friends up there on the screen and so I like to pay a little more attention. It’s nice to leave a thoughtful comment – and then to get thoughtful comments from them in return. Plus I get a mention every now and then where I’ve made a recommendation or where someone refers to a chat that we had, which is always nice.
Documentaries, then, are something that I have on in the background when I’m working on my books. You’d be surprised how much you can pick up from crime documentaries, and you’d be surprised at how much of that you can then use when you’re working on a cozy detective story. But equally, I like learning about drug smugglers, the war, corrupt companies…you name it, I’ll watch it. The nature documentaries are good too, although I usually save them until just before I go to bed.
In fact, I like watching documentaries so much that it’s my go-to category when I run out of stuff on my watch later list on Netflix. But that rarely happens.
I think watching documentaries is a good call whether you’re a writer or not, but I think writers and creative types in particular can get a lot out of them. You can have them on in the background when you’re working on something or even just give them your full attention when you’re relaxing at the end of the day. There’s always something new to learn and the inspiration you get can be invaluable.
So go forth, people of the internet, and watch some documentaries. It’s almost as good as picking up a non-fiction book!