I can tell you I sure haven’t. Last weekend was LTUE, which was wonderful. I highly recommend it for those in the general hemisphere. This past week has been the attempt a return to routine. HAH. We, this Woden’s Day last, enrolled the Wee Horde in dance lessons. Not cheap (though I suspect it’s actually gotten cheaper considering inflation and suchlike), but it’s another hour a week I can adult. I also wrestled with the black dog this weekend gone, and that’s not getting any easier. In between, there have been massive bouts of laundry, menu planning, grocery shopping, and attempting new recipes. I’ve been swamped, and I may not even have my health.
But the key to (possibly) eternal life and certainly to another door in the creaky gothic mansion of the ol’ writing imaginarium was handed to me via offhanded comment from a writer buddy, our own Dorothy Grant. She relayed that temporary boredom gave her mind the space it needed to come up with a missing plot element in her WIP. And I kinda grunted from the metaphysical body blow she unintentionally struck.
Y’see, I used to get bored. “I’m booooooored,” I’d often relate to my (now) venerable father in august tones I’d spent hours practicing in front of the mirror. It was vital to life and salvation that he understand my deepest trials, you see. I’m pleased to relay to you that he showered me with all the sympathy and attention I deserved. Which is to say, none: “that’s your problem, my son. You have an enormous number of pastimes available to you, and figuring out how to be un-bored is a vital skill. Get to it.”
And so I did. And I’m pleased to inform you, dear readers, that I’ve rarely been bored in all the years since. It’s largely the same advice I give my own spawn when they complain to me about their unexercised imaginations. BUT. And much like those of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s appreciation, this is a big one. I rarely spend enough time without noise of some kind for my imagination to run wild. You can intentionally push the imagination in certain directions, as a drover, ah, encourages his team onward with his lash and calls. Certainly, you can. I would advise, however, that you spend some time in quiet reflection, as well.
Pushing your imagination is important to the writing process. It’s like resistance training. I lift weights to increase my strength and muscular hypertrophy. If, however, the only activity I get is intense, directed, and more or less mono-planar, my body is going to get very used to only a few movements, and while I’ll be strong, I likely won’t be terribly useful. Play is required, as well, so the body consumes a diverse and interesting diet. And then there’s recovery, which is even more of what I’m talking about here.
With exercise, if you push too hard, too long, you get injured. (Ask me how I know.) With creativity, if you push too hard, too long (or even just too fast), you get burnout. It’s related, and equally uncomfortable. Strategic boredom is like allowing your body sufficient recovery time after strenuous exercise. It can pay dividends.
I promise I’ll have more fiction, next week. Things have been weird and unsettled, and it’s been impacting the fictioning. I’m working on that. And not just because I’m a mercenary liar. I mean, I need to keep the kiddles in tuition and dance shoes, but I also want to maintain as even a keel as I can for my own sake, and not-writing is a badness thing where that’s concerned.