For some reason, we’ve come to associate stress with success and boredom with laziness. I bought into the lie that being bored was bad when I was way too young, and it has taken me until now to fully understand how important it is to be bored – especially when blessed (or cursed?) with a creative mind.
My best ideas have come to me when I am not stressed, thinking about a deadline or overworking myself because who knows why. I came up the idea with this blog between finishing college and starting grad school, in the three months since preschool I was not taking some kind of class. Now aren’t you glad I spent some time being bored?
Boredom is productive. Creatively, anyway.
Out of boredom often comes the unsolicited desire to create. Even if you don’t end up actively creating something, sitting around watching a movie or reading a random book, you’re relieving your brain of the stressors that often prevent it from processing new ideas. The less you have to do, the more aware you will become of the new ideas circulating in your mind.
This is not to say you should work as little as possible or blow off other obligations just for the sake of boredom-induced creativity. But you shouldn’t commit yourself to so many different things that your mind does not have the chance to breathe. I’ve made this mistake too many times in my life – and I don’t want you to do the same.
It’s time to stop being afraid of boredom. It’s OK to wind down, to not always have something hanging over your head. You’re sabotaging your own creativity that way. BE BORED. The holidays are the perfect time to practice this. Take a day off. Work extra hard during the week so you have time off on the weekends. And when you start to feel like you need to get up and do something, put that energy into making something new, or brainstorming something that does not yet exist.
Boredom is good. It’s not lazy. Used strategically, it’s productive – and even healthy, too.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.