Most people hate boredom. Personally, I think it’s highly underrated. In fact, I could use a little boredom in my life right about now…
It’s Day 7 of my “open novel” experiment for Ice Storm, aka my “Development Hell” book. Yesterday was a little hellish in its own right. After four days off, I found myself struggling to get back into the story. This isn’t unusual for me and it’s one of the reasons I don’t like to take breaks during the middle of a story. Anyway it took a long time but I managed to edit another 3,000 words of my second draft. So, I’m sitting at 24,000 words with 66,000 words to go.
Today should be a relatively easy day. Then I’m going to need to start creating some new scenes, which will slow me down a bit. I’m beginning to wonder if I can keep editing at a pace of 18,000 words per week. Writing and editing at the same time is far more difficult than doing just one or the other. So, I may need to cut it back to 12,000 in order to give my inner batteries more time to recharge. And that brings me to today’s topic…
Boredom is a Good Thing…and Here’s Why!
No one likes boredom. Many people even consider it evil. This is a leftover from early American history, as brilliantly shown by Thaddeus Russell in A Renegade History of the United States. Prior to the American Revolution, America was a hotbed of saloons, interracial mixing, non-marital sex, homosexuality, and prostitution among other things. Life for these people was about having fun.
After the war, the “Founding Fathers” became worried. They thought these frivolous, pleasure-seeking lifestyles would ruin the American experiment of self-rule. The result was a strange merger of Puritan values with Victorian ideas about work and leisure. Work was said to be godly, regardless of whether it had a purpose or not. Idle hands supposedly led to misery and wretchedness.
These ideas continue to this day, albeit to a lesser degree. We still avoid boredom like the plague. In fact, we do everything in our power to avoid it. We turn on the television. We surf the internet. We call people. We engage in work. We do chores. We run errands. In general, we throw ourselves into any structured activity that promises to alleviate our boredom. But creatively speaking, that’s a mistake. Boredom can be an extremely powerful tool.
I try to fit boredom into my daily schedule. Yes, I know that sounds weird. But I have to fight my initial instinct to consume entertainment. So, I find time to sit down once a day. I don’t do anything in particular. I just let my mind wander. And the result is often amazing. I do some of my most imaginative work when I’m just sitting around, being bored. The other thing I like about boredom is that it helps me realize my passions. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself thinking a lot about drawing and how I wished I knew more about it. Now, I’m about to begin a 30-day drawing program.
So, embrace your boredom. Avoid the temptation to fill every spare moment with outside stimulation (unless, of course, it happens to be Chaos!). Instead, let your imagination go to work and maybe you’ll discover things about yourself you never knew before.
I wanted to begin my 30-day drawing program yesterday. Unfortunately, I ran out of time. Hopefully, I’ll start it to later today. The link to buy Chaos at Diesel (see sidebar) is still broken. Diesel has a revised version of Chaos in hand so hopefully, this will be fixed soon. On the bright side, I fixed my Goodreads link. So, at least that’s off my list. Finally, the Chaos paperback continues to be on sale for $13.25 at Amazon.