The Creative Benefits of Being BORED
Hey everyone! Remember me? It’s Kristen and I’m back and yes of course I missed all of you dearly. In this blog, I’ve always worked to be transparent with you guys so you knew it was okay to be human. Lately, I’ve been very very human as in seriously exhausted and burned out. Working is easy for me. Resting?
That requires an intervention.
Hey, I’m a work in progress too! 😛
I’m bad about having two speeds, GO and GO HARDER. Three years ago I pushed and pushed until I ended up with a nice case of Shingles that laid me out for months.
Yeah nothing to make a gal feel young and sexy like Shingles.
One would think I learned from that. Sigh. No *hangs head in shame* So I’ve been going going going for months. Launched a debut book, blogging, teaching then went to present at a week-long retreat…where I worked 10-12 hour days. I LOVE my work. Sitting alone in the woods in the quiet? When there are writers I can HELP??????
*snorts plotting like line of cocaine*
I love it a bit too much and so it never feels like work. Ergo, easy to overdo it.
To make matters worse, though the retreat catered to food allergies, either they screwed up or I did and I got glutened which means I was viciously ill when I returned home. I would have gone to an ER if euthanasia was an option. But it wasn’t.
Only time, lots of water and sleep would make it right…meaning I spent a week in bed. I would grow bored and instead of permitting it, my instincts were to immediately seek stimulation of some kind.
I’d get on-line, hop on Facebook and, of course, see stuff like this…
*backs slowly away from computer* *returns to blanket fort* I didn’t need to give into my craving for stimulation. I didn’t need to get on Facebook and educate the world about food allergies. I was already exhausted and that was just draining away the tiny little reserves I’d managed to build by resting.
I didn’t need Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook or Candy Crush or an audio book or a movie. I needed rest, QUIET, and a serious attitude adjustment (which would probably come with some rest and quiet time).
I miss being a kid and having three months of vacation. Now THAT was unplugging.
Y’all remember summer vacation? It was all joy and fun and excitement for about a month and then you spent the next two months bored out of your skull? Of course usually, for me, those last two months were when I ended up in the most trouble because nothing will make you creative like being BORED.
This was when it seemed a good idea to see if I could walk along the tops of fences, up over rooftops and make it all the way down the block without ever having to touch ground. This was also when it seemed a good idea to convince my little brother he could jump off the roof with an umbrella and that he’d just float down like Penguin in Batman.
We spent weeks building, making up games, exploring and getting dirty, but all of that is gone now. Gone for me because I am an adult but also gone for the new generations.
We are a culture who values entertainment, but I’m going to posit some food for thought. Entertainment is not rest. It is not relaxation. It is also NOT a synonym for play (which is also important but a topic for another time). We are seriously overstimulated then wonder why we can’t seem to think straight.
There’s a lot to say about being bored and with the influx of social media and games and apps and streaming video, when was the last time anyone was really…bored?
As a kid isn’t that when we became our boldest? Like our regular friends weren’t available (probably grounded because they got caught three rooftops down) and so we had to reach beyond our comfort zone. Talk to that kid we didn’t know?
Before I went to the retreat I went to get my hair done (turn my gray back to blonde). Beauty shops when I was growing up were always hubs of chatter. Gossip, advice, laughter, talk, strangers becoming instant BFFs.
Now? It’s gone quiet.
If video killed the radio star then smartphones killed the beauty shop. Fifteen years ago, if forced to sit for 30 minute while my hair processed, I would have walked away with three new friends, dating advice and a couple recipes to try.
Now, it’s a wall of grown women staring at phones and tablets with white cords dangling from their ears. Short of razor wire and a KEEP OUT sign? Yeah. With all the stimulation, no “connections” can be made.
Hold onto that thought.
When I’m not working I’m still working. I read tons of books, listen to audio books, watch documentaries, movies, series and study, study, study to get better and better. Yet, though filling my mind with all this information is necessary and good, it does little good if I fail to get quiet.
And even get a little bored.
A good dose of quiet boredom (quiet) is magic for the imagination. There are many scientific benefits to being bored. It defrags the brain, helps us be able to discern the urgent from the important, lowers stress and cortisol levels (stress is bad juju for creativity, btw).
Our minds need quiet time to be able to think, to imagine, to create. To make connections. Think of all those juicy tidbits of trivia, conversations you’ve overheard, news headlines, stories, pictures, questions, documentaries, things you read. Now imagine they are all sitting together in a beauty shop and this beauty shop is between your ears.
Take away their Candy Crush, their email, their audio books and streaming news. Take out their ear buds and make them sit together in the silence. Give them nothing else to do and guess what? They’ll start talking, and gossiping, and sharing and….CONNECTING.
This is when the magic is gonna happen. This is when all those meaningless scraps are going to start coming together and assembling into order and then…into beauty. Lately, I’ve been putting my phone on Airplane Mode a lot. I don’t need the constant beeping and siren’s call to look at FB. Been making time to just lie in bed in the dark and be quiet even if for only 30 minutes. I even moved a couple classes (AHHHHHHH!) because I was exhausted and to give my best I need to be at my best.
Baby steps 🙂 .
So if you’re stuck, your writing is stuck, your muse is stuck? Maybe it’s time to let her get a bored 😉 .
What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with rest? Do you feel guilty? Is it hard to let yourself unplug? Hey I get it! What are some things you do to unplug? Hey I am all for suggestions!
Talk to me! And MAKE SURE to check out the classes below and sign up! Summer school! YAY!