Bored to the Bone


All fulfilling work requires creativity.

I define creativity as the lateral thinking needed to solve a never-before-seen obstacle.

But sometimes it’s tough to be creative. What do you do when the Muse doesn’t show up?

My solution is to let myself become bored. Boredom is a gift to all creative minds.


External calm leads to boredom, which incites internal stimulation, which leads to creativity. It almost seems that boredom is NECESSARY to be creative!


I see two types of boredom. The first type occurs occasionally when I’m with a group of people, especially if I’m not particularly fond of present company. One minute I feel talkative and engaged, and then suddenly I “power down” and become surly and uninterested. I just want to leave. This type of boredom is anti-productive. The second kind of boredom is the useful kind. It descends upon me when I have nothing to do (or at least feel that way). I become so bored that the rusty cogs start turning on their own.

And the turning of the cogs is the key, really. When we’re not externally stimulated (read: bored), our minds begin to internally stimulate themselves, for example, by daydreaming. A daydreamer might look bored – she might be staring out the window blankly, but it doesn’t mean she actually is bored. She is producing novel ideas and exploring alternative modes of thinking.


The stereotypical creative space is a wacky work studio filled with weird gadgets and gizmos. But, in reality, a still, empty, white room does it better for me. In other words, something boring! Boredom allows me to hear my own thoughts, that deep reservoir of fascinating subject matter (we all have it). Surely somewhere within that untapped unconscious is a tool to help me unknot my tangled plot or illuminate the key to a troublesome character.


I try to welcome boredom. There’s something special about just sitting and thinking. Yeah, it sounds lame, but it doesn’t have to be. For about half a semester in college I would, without fail, come home from afternoon classes and sit on my bed and listen to ambient noise. It was my thinking time, and it was special to me. This was a time in my life that required a particularly large amount of thinking – I was thinking about dropping out of school, I was thinking about how to convert my jumbled thoughts into writing, and I was thinking a lot about life. I had a large amount to chew on. It was very helpful to me to sit down without distractions. So many issues resolved themselves when I simply allowed them to emerge from that vast sea of thought and thought them through.

My boredom was my inspiration, and it still is.