Dealing with Boredom

Bored Dog

Some days writing comes easy, and other days it’s a real struggle.

The last few days were a struggle. Forcing myself to sit down and work on my novel every day has taken a lot of effort. Sometimes my brain refuses to enter the flow of writing, instead it will complain it is bored and urge me to open up firefox or steam, anything instead of facing the word document in front of me.

Graham Linehan speaks on boredom and creativity in an article for the Guardian.

‘The creative process requires a period of boredom, of being stuck. That’s actually a very uncomfortable period that a lot of people mistake for writer’s block, but it’s actually just part one of a long process. The internet has made it very difficult to experience that.’

I couldn’t agree more with his remark on the internet making it more difficult to experience the creative process. One moment you’re sat, typing away happily then you suddenly forget the proper word for ‘leg.’ So naturally you open up a search engine or thesaurus and look it up. Before you know it you’re laughing at a video of a girl freaking out at a mouse and braining herself on the kitchen counter, or stumbling through wikipedia reading about how radioisotope thermoelectric generators work (bloody Kerbal Space Progam). We’ve trained ourselves to run away from boredom the second it rears up.

With so much information and media accessible with just a few clicks of a computer or phone, I think it’s amazing we can focus on anything for longer than five minutes at all.

So what’s the solution? Turn off the internet entirely I suppose. I find that to be counter productive though when the internet can be such a useful tool. As a compromise recently, I’ve been using a virutal desktop program called Dexpot to some success. I set a second virtual desktop with no desktop icons and I prevent any pop ups – so no firefox, no skype messages, no email etc. So far it’s helped me to focus more easily by removing my habitual distractions while still being able to consciously tab back in to my usual desktop when I need to. I can recommend it, though it does take some customising to set up how you want it.

With boredom being inevitable when it comes to creative work, how do you deal with it? What methods do you use to push yourself past that initial hurdle?


© 2015, Gavin Zanker. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Photo by Benoit Dupont licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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