Boredom Breeds Creativity

I’m currently listening to the book Pep Talks for Writers, by Grant Faulkner (free currently on Audible Plus).   One particular tip Pep Talk 8: The Art of Boredom lures me in.  Grant discusses the importance of allowing ourselves to be bored, which is a tip shared by many other creative geniuses.  But so often we forget this.

Quick checks of our social media account or scrolls through the news headlines may give us cheap rushes of excitement, but they pass just as fast as they arrived.  “My brain craves novelty and stimulation, and I am caught in a loop of compulsive neediness,” the author shares when grabbing at his phone every free moment he gets.  Many of us are like Grant, each opportunity that arises where we have a spare second, phones are grabbed.   He further adds, “It seems as if all of the entertaining diversions the internet delivers will be fulfillment, but the flickers and headlines tend not to nourish my soul.”  It’s as if in those brief moments where we are not occupied by doing something, we fill that space with more knowledge or distraction, versus allowing the space to be empty.

When we cradle our phones every spare second, we are robbing ourselves the privilege of being bored.  Yes bored!

After many months of travelling, prepping for my move to Paris, and slowly settling in as a local, I’ve allowed myself to be bored.  I have kept up my weekly digital sabbatical, but also I’ve given myself the gift of not working for at least one year in a traditional job.  Now that I’ve had the space to be bored, creativity has flourished.  I’ve completed my book proposal (as I await news from my agent), written blog posts, worked on my podcast again, and actually recorded meditations again for both Aura and Insight Timer.

“Being bored signals to the mind that you’re in need of fresh thoughts and spurs creative thinking,” Grant shared.  Not all of us may have the luxury to quit our jobs at the moment, but we can take the opportunity to turn off our devices for 24 hours (or even several hours) and simply allow ourselves to wander into the world of boredom.  See what arises within.  Or even observe what is popping up in your environment.  Listen to conversations around you, the sounds that you may have habituated to, or take in the colors and flavors of this moment.  Perhaps a creative idea may arise, if you give yourself the gift of boredom.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stuart Danker
    Feb 16, 2022 @ 23:26:52

    I’m definitely exploring this part of my life, as I too believe that boredom helps with creativity. It’s just to hard to resist killing the boredom with the digital world sometimes, so I’m trying my best to eschew social media and the like. Anyway, thanks for this post!


    • Dr. Tricia Wolanin
      Feb 16, 2022 @ 23:31:57

      I totally agree, we can be pulled to want to fill those empty spaces with entertainment. The question is how do we let this be and allow ourselves the joy (although it may seem like pain) of being bored. Good luck 🙂


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