Thursday, 5 January 2017
We Were Never Being Boring, We Were Never Being Bored
Being bored is extremely important for the creative process. Sitting staring at a blank piece of paper, canvas or screen with nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to think, seems to be an essential part of what allows us to make things that are good and new. For long, long minutes you can sit there, putting every ounce of effort you can muster into trying to think up something, anything - trust me, this can be worse than an hour lifting weights or circuit training. Eventually, from the well of ideas that drills deep down into the middle of your soul, some wild and resistant gremlin of inspiration is dragged up, kicking and screaming, and then brutally pinned down onto the page, still breathing but broken. Then you make a cup of tea and wait for the next one.
The other reason why boredom is your friend and ally is that it forces you to sit down with that blank piece of paper in the first place. After you've cleaned the house and fed the cat and unblocked the plug hole and clipped your toe nails and picked out all your belly-button fluff and done every single little last thing that you can think of, boredom sets in, and that's when you can really get to work, because finally you have no excuse not to.
TV, the internet, and social media are your sworn enemies, because they assuage boredom. You can sit down with a remote or mouse and flit from one little island of entertainment to another until it's time for bed, and never once feel as though you need to do anything creative at all. And if somehow you do get that feeling - which you will, as all human beings do - and do go and sit down with that blank piece of paper or screen or canvas, you can very quickly get sucked back down the rabbit hole of non-boredom the instant things get difficult. That remote control or mouse is still there. The siren song of cheap and unearned distraction.
If you want to produce anything worthwhile, my son, embrace and even seek out boredom.