When was the last time you were bored? Truly bored. Not a time when you wish you were doing something more interesting, but where your mind was almost completely unoccupied.
I’ll bet it’s a lot less common than it used to be. Especially if you have a smartphone.
And that might just be a problem. Some new research, suggests that boredom may be a critical component to creativity.
Looking back through my own life, there is certainly some anecdotal evidence to support the theory. The most creative places for me have always included the shower and driving alone in the car–places practically synonymous with boredom. And as I’ve gotten older, taken on more responsibility, and technology has become more ubiquitous, boredom is more and more rare.
If I’m in line waiting for the next cashier, I’m as likely to check my email as I am to let my mind wander. And that wandering mind is important in being a writer. Not only does it help you come up with ideas, plot and dialogue. But people watching and unconsciously soaking in the environment around you is critical in making your world and writing more real.
So…what to do?
1. Follow the link above and you can find out how to participate in the Bored and Brilliant challenge, taking place during the first week of February. All you’ll do is keep track of the time you spend on your phone over the course of that week. The data is going into a larger study about boredom and creativity.
2. Let yourself be bored, not just for a day, but as a reasonable part of your routine, and see if it has any affect on your creative soul.