Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not Enough Boredom?

I made a new rule for myself. Before, my rule was that I could go on the internet as long as I wanted, so long as I’d already done my writing for the day. Now, my rule is that I can go on the internet for the same amount of time I spent writing, only the amount of time I spend writing, aside from a cursory email check for business letters.

It’s a subtle change. I never would have changed except I noticed that an unlimited amount of internet time cut back on my “recharging” time. And I noticed that after a day of perusing the web till my eyes oozed, I was less productive the next day. Drained, actually. Dulled.

Now. I’m not going to use this as a chance to slander the Evils of Technology and go on a rant about carpel-tunnel in teenagers who spend their days mastering Halo 3. I do want to talk about recharging. About the importance of it.

 All writers have a need to be curious and to fill that curiosity. Writing fills the curiosity. Time not spent writing creates more curiosity and a strong hunger to continue filling it. All the things that people tell you to do for inspiration – read other fiction, take walks, try something new – this all makes us want to explore our own fictional worlds more fully. This makes us more hungry. This makes us crave.

I heard some British author talk about how she was bored as a child and spent a lot of time being bored, and she thought more kids should be allowed to get bored. I understood where she was coming from. Being bored is why I started writing fiction in the first place. The hunger is so much stronger when you’re bored. The need to create and explore is an almost overpowering desire, one that morphs into fantasies, and new worlds, and eventually, stories.

I think something about the web discharges that nervous energy and satisfies the curiosity before it ever has a chance to bubble. My mind stops craving and I stop thinking about my novel. The next day, I want to write, but I don’t need to write. 

Have any of you ever experienced something like this? I'm curious what you all think about the boredom thing, as well. 


- Creative A

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7 comments:

David Isaak said...

Yep, boredom and lack of stimulation is a good thing. The desk where I'm writing this faces a blank corner of a room; the windows are all behind me, and covered with drapes. My most productive writing has been in generic hotel rooms.

I find walking to be an aid to thinking through my stories, but even there it works better if the environs aren't too interesting...

randy said...

That's actually a great idea--as much online time as writing time. I probably waste 2+ hours a week reading about writing online rather than actually doing it.

.randy

Creative A said...

Really? I don't think I've ever been that extreme about it before. I work best when I'm engaged in something that I can slowly tune out - the radio in quiet, walking to music, stuff like that.

-CA

Creative A said...

Ah, sorry Randy, I missed your comment somehow. Blame the Blogger Gremlins. I hear they're at work.

I did notice somehow that writing about reading made it harder for me to write - it sort of wakes up my inner editor and gets me thinking about theory and wordcount and stuff. Now when I'm blocked, it helps immensely. Strange.

-CA

David Isaak said...

Music makes it impossible for me to work at all. The rhythms of my sentences begin to follow the rhythms of the music and everything goes straight to hell.

Nor can I hold a conversation with a radio or TV in the 'background.' I guess that's really my problem--I'm terrible at tuning things out. I don't really have a 'background.'

lyrajean said...

I find when I'm actually bored I don't do anything. No surfing the net, no reading books, not even watching TV. Forget writing. Luckily this doesn't happen very often.

I can write with background noise. I'm in my room and the TV or radio in the living room or my brother's room is on. I can't write if the TV or radio is on in my own room.

Creative A said...

David, that is rather interesting. What about when you get really into a scene, can something like that still pull you out of it? I know that once I'm in a scene, you could shout at me, and I still wouldn't hear it.

Lyrajean, I think the only time I was ever that bored was when I'd been sick for three days, and had memorized the pattern of wallpaper on my bedroom walls, down to every brushstroke. Ugh.

I can't write if the noise is right beside me - say if I listen to music from my laptop as I type. But if it's across my room, I can tune it out.

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