Whether it is poetry or prose, I experienced the same familiar pattern: once it’s just me and the blank screen/page, a wave of boredom rises up to meet me. I feel the urge to go somewhere – anywhere – to get away. And I let the wave wash over me. I accept I am bored, that boredom is part of the process – and I trust that if I sit here long enough, it will subside, and reveal a flicker of curiosity. That flicker is like the tiny flame a match sparks in kindling – easily snuffed out, but if you are patient, it will start to grow and burn brightly. Curiosity becomes interest, becomes fascination… and soon I’m lost in my writing, the words are flowing and I wouldn’t be anywhere or doing anything else in the whole world.
At The 99 Percent, Mark McGuinness discusses how being bored can actually help to fuel creativity. With all of the distractions we have available, it’s easy to always keep our minds busy, never letting our thoughts wander freely. For McGuinness, minimizing distractions by using apps, like Freedom, to force him offline or heading to the library with pen and paper in hand is the best way for him to disconnect and get his creative juices flowing. In the article, he also includes six tips on how to use this creative boredom to your advantage.
I’m a big fan of “unplugging” and find that one full day offline, without checking my email or phone, does a lot for my creativity. It helps me focus on reading or lets me just sit, think, and write – the old fashioned way. (Daryl has also suggested trying the pen and paper approach from time to time.) If I don’t, I find that my mind is too cluttered or easily distracted to actually write for a significant amount of time. Though I’ve written about using social media and online “distractions” to your advantage, quiet time is also a great way to help process and synthesize all of the information we have so easily accessible online.
What do you think: Do you write your blog posts in a quiet setting, or amongst the hubbub of social networks and chats? Do you turn off the internet or use any other tools to help reduce distractions? Is “boredom” your writing fuel or do you write when excited/busy/etc?