During the day you’re always busy doing something; working, running errands, cooking etc. And when you’re writing, your mind is also active. You’re thinking about plot line and characters, how the story should develop, how to market your book…
It’s hard to be bored nowadays. When there’s nothing to do, you still reach for your phone or tablet, or distract yourself by doing something. You don’t really ever sit down and look out the window to let your mind wander. And that means on the one hand you can organize your time, always increase your productivity and utilize your time at the optimum level. Even when you relax, you watch tv or read a book or have a conversation, but you don’t stare outside and see where your mind goes. On the other hand, by always doing something with your time, you don’t let your brain entertain itself by forcing you to be bored.
I believe that being bored is important. I believe we should take the time to stare into the air and wait for our minds to wander. And the reason for this is creativity. Because when you’re bored, that’s when your creativity switches on. Connections are formed that you wouldn’t have predicted otherwise and you can have brilliant ideas.
So even if it looks like you’re wasting your time, you’re actually letting your mind work in the background. And there’s a way you can potentially influence in which direction your mind wanders. When I was studying in school I used to quickly revise one last time before going to bed on the evening before a test, so it would be the last thing on my mind before sleeping and I would hopefully remember it better in the morning. It meant that I would dream about the subject as well. Using this, when I effectively force myself to get bored, I always start by thinking about the books I’m writing. And as time passes, my mind wanders in random directions, but at least I’ve started with my books so hopefully I can then trigger some great ideas.
Have you tried this as well? Do you get bored? And how do you “use” your time when you’re bored?
Currently, I’m based in the UK. And we were under lockdown roughly between March and June. Some people have taken that opportunity to write books or music, or even produce a movie.
For me lockdown was not as productive creatively as I would have liked it to be. I was working full-time but I didn’t have to commute and with everything closed, I had a lot more time on my hands. However, especially in the beginning of lockdown it was hard for me to motivate myself to write. Once I was done working, I needed to get some fresh air and movement. Everyone was anxious and I found myself unable to concentrate on writing. I needed more human interaction, not less. Writing is very isolating, because I can’t really write when I’m around people. For me to write well I need to be in a room by myself, with music drowning out any other noise, and no one interrupting me. So this was incompatible with the need for social interactions.
Therefore, unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of lockdown and write more. I’m very envious of those that used that time to be productive. But I’m also not too hard on myself for not having written more. It was an exceptionally stressful time and while I could have forced myself to stare at a screen and try to come up with words, I knew I would have trouble concentrating and immersing myself into my fantasy worlds. I would have been even more frustrated with myself for not being able to write pages upon pages.
So I took it easy and focused on writing in this blog regularly, write down any new ideas I had, and every now and again work on the sequel to When Colour Became Grey. It’s important to not be too hard on yourself and to allow yourself to also focus on other things. Forcing myself to write can sometimes trigger new ideas, but more often than not it has the opposite effect.
I took advantage of lockdown in other ways by seeing my family for a prolonged time [I was still following guidelines!], by connecting with people through social media, home-gyming and focusing on yoga and mental well-being.
How was lockdown for you? Have you been able to write or pursue your art?