Boredom vs. Quiet

Let’s revisit the poll I posted a few days ago. I asked if boredom was necessary for creatives. I didn’t get a lot of response, but that’s OK. I got a couple comments — here and on other social media platforms — that helped me formulate what I want to say.

On my Facebook page, Terri M. said:

I’m not a writer or whatever, BUT I have come up with some of my greatest garden or craft ideas while sitting here doing nothing 

On the poll post, Janet said:

I think a quiet mind is needful to be creative with words. A frantic life seldom produces much. I don’t call it boredom though. Just quiet.

That is, in a nutshell, where I stand. Or sit.

As for the poll, it is still open, but results so far are evenly split between yes and no about boredom being necessary for creatives.

I have never liked being bored. It’s just not me, if that makes sense. I have always, as long as I can remember, had something with me to ensure I am never bored. That may be a pen and paper (even scrap paper in the bottom of my purse or other bag), a book to read, a sketchbook, or something to knit or crochet. I have a cousin who has commented that she has never seen me when I don’t have something to do.

That is intentional.

That is not to say I don’t have quiet time or downtime. I do. I just structure it differently. My quiet time comes in the short meditations I have started doing. It comes in the times when I am knitting or crocheting and the pattern doesn’t require a lot of attention. It comes in doodling in a sketchbook or writing practice/Morning Pages (refer to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron if this is a new concept to you – I highly recommend that book/study).

Everyone is different. Don’t let anyone tell you that the way you do something or what you call something is wrong. It might be different, but it’s not wrong. Especially if it works for you.

What I call downtime or quiet time may indeed be boredom to someone else. Whatever you call it, it boils down to this: We need to give ourselves time for ideas to form and incubate so we can continue our creative work.  Whatever name you give to that incubation time doesn’t really matter. It’s what you do with the results of it that count.

And who decides if it counts?

You.

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