Today, we are going to discuss the light-hearted topic of four reasons why boredom is good for you and your narrative.
The word bored, boring or any other of its conjunctions has become so mundane that you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that the word only entered the English dictionary officially in 1852, with the publication of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House; although, as an emotional state, it obviously dates back to time immemorial.
In this blog post/video, we will discuss four reasons for why boredom is a good for you and your narrative. Whether you are writing a book, a screenplay or a music score, boredom’s significance cannot be understated. Thus, the next time you’re bored, you will be able to use your time constructively to make the writing process a little easier for yourself.
Reason 1 – Boredom Gives You Time To Think
The first of the four reasons why boredom is good for you and your narrative is because it gives you time to think.
Christopher Nolan, the director of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and the recently-released Tenet, does not own a mobile phone. The reason he does not have a mobile phone is because, in his own words, it gives him “time to think.”
He claims that smartphones are essentially killing boredom i.e. every time you have nothing to do, you look at your phone, you read an article, play a game, or message someone, and you have ensured that you are doing something, so as not to be bored.
In a sense, this is great, as it is stopping inertia and all other kinds of negative thoughts that can otherwise take over the mind when you’re in a state of ennui. By playing a game, reading an article or messaging someone, you are killing boredom.
However, the death of boredom comes at a price, as you won’t be thinking about your narrative if you are doing any or all of the above. And what might the knock-on effect of this price, you may ask? The next reason will answer that question.
Reason 2 – Boredom Boosts Creativity
The second of the four reason why boredom is good for you and your narrative is because boredom breeds creativity. (Kind of like how necessity does too.) The famous 19th-century Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, amusingly once said: “The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.”
But regardless of the truth of (or the blasphemy in) Kierkegaard’s saying, when one is bored one is unsatisfied. And when the mind is bored, it occupies itself with thought, such as new perspectives on old notions, creative solutions.
Indeed, boredom and creativity are directly linked. In a 2012 human experiment at the University of California, 145 undergraduates were asked to come up with as many uses for daily objects as they could in two minutes.
After performing the exercise once, the students were divided into four groups; one group repeated the exercise again, right away, while the other three groups were given a 12-minute break before starting. The first of these group was allowed to rest; the second was given a hard memory task to complete; and the third was asked to work on a mundane task, specifically engineered to encourage daydreaming.
The students in the tedious-task group completely outperformed the other participants. On average, they came up with 41% more possibilities than those in the other groups. This suggests that while they were bored doing their mundane task, they contemplated about the everyday items that they had initially thought up and found new ways to use them.
If they could think up new ways on how to use mundane items, think about the interesting ways that you can twist your plot out of shape when you are bored.
Reason 3 – Boredom Gives You The Opportunity To Learn From Past Disappointments
Yoda – “the greatest teacher, failure is.”
Failure – as defined by a lack of success – is as much an experience as an event: one that changes us and molds us into the people we become. The same is true for writers with regards to their stories.
Writers will be incapable of succeeding where they previously failed if they do not give themselves the chance to learn from their past mistakes. The perfect time for introspection is when we are bored. Then, we can assess our failures at our own pace, and work out how to put them right for in our own time.
Thus, the next time you’re bored, contemplate where you haven’t succeeded in a constructive way and use those memories to your advantage. That way, you’ll build better, more plausible characters and storylines.
In short, Yoda is right. Looked at it in the right way, failure is not a bad thing at all. It enables us to learn, to grow and to become better versions of ourselves. That way, when you approach your narrative again, you will write a richer and more enjoyable story because of your failures and experiences; all of which you thought about while you were bored.
Reason 4 – Knuckle Down And Get On With It
The fourth reason of the four reasons why boredom is good for you and your narrative sort of is that it forces you to act. As previously mentioned, boredom breeds creativity. But it is not the only thing that boredom can generate. It can also breed an unhealthy, negative and/or depressed mindset and a destructive path, or to put it another way: “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.”
People who find themselves constantly bored may find themselves watching hours of pointless TV every day. Or, they may pass the time taking drugs, drinking alcohol, gambling, starting pointless arguments, and/or committing crimes.
These kinds of people are fed up with themselves. Moreover, they lack personal interests and motivation.
But we writers have interests and the motivation to write a story. What do you think made me start writing my fantasy series over a decade ago? That’s right, it was boredom. (Well, that a few other reasons which we’ll save for another day.)
Thus, boredom was one of the key factors that forced me to crack on and write my story. If boredom did that for me, it can do the same for you. So, the next time you find yourself having nothing to do, use the time productively and start writing.
And that’s all I have for you today guys. I hope you have enjoyed this blog post/video on four reasons why boredom is good for you and your narrative, and that it helps to make the writing process a little easier for you as well.
Tell me, what do you do when you are bored? Also, was boredom one of the reasons for why you started writing your narrative?
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