Is boredom necessary for creativity?

An idle mind is a devil’s workshop, it is said. What might the opposite be then? For is it not in idleness, that fantasy takes flight?

Nearly two months ago, I declared that I was starting my Experiment 2 series. If I could’ve glimpsed the future, I might not have been quite as rash in my declaration. In all fairness, I did start on the first story. Then life and events overtook me. I got involved in a new project at work which meant training and travelling far more than I had done before. When I was not at work, I was too busy catching up on errands, and tending to my long suffering family and circle of friends. Too many balls to juggle, and the one that fell was the writing. Somehow, it slid to the bottom of the priority list, and kept sliding, as more and more chores jostled for space on that ever growing inventory of mine.

I thought (foolishly) that no matter how busy I got, I could still think my stories, flesh my characters out, prepare some semblance of a plot. Alas! That was a pipe dream. When your thoughts skitter in every direction, when reports need writing and suitcases need packing, even the most trenchant of characters withdraw from the forefront. We need time and attention and care, they whisper, as they turn their backs truculently.

So, as I vacuumed my living room in a frenzy of tidying up in the two short days I had at home, I wondered whether boredom was really a pre requisite for creativity. Perhaps a sort of vacuum in the mind, that allows for the conception and fabrication of fiction.

A counter argument could present the scores of writers that were employed full time, yet kept plugging away at their first love. It could talk of people waking up at 5 am to write three pages, holding down two jobs, bringing up children and never complaining. Yes, and yes, and yes. Maybe their creative process is different from mine. Maybe their characters scream to be put down in print. Maybe they thrive under pressure and timetables and discipline. I don’t.

And so, I await the return of that idleness. I await those gentle mornings spent snoozing in bed, when suddenly a character will nudge me and say, Give me auburn hair, will you? I await boredom, and the urge to create that arises from that boredom.

Experiment 2 will resume in good time. Until then, bear with me.


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