Zinger Vs Boredom

One of the most paradoxical things I experience as a writer is that as I near the end of a project, the material simultaneously becomes much more engaging, and much more boring.

It becomes more engaging, because the premise becomes more polished and tightens everything up until it zings through your brain like lightning… and more boring, because the opportunities to make any more zing happen are waning.

At this stage — which is where I’m at with my current client — getting the draft finished becomes an act of will, a physical decision to push through the boredom.

(This happens on every project, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, no matter how fascinating I find the concept, and regardless of my state of mind otherwise.)

Writing is a process, and sometimes the process is boring.

It’s great when it’s not — there’s nothing better than the feeling of catapulting across the page in a blaze of inspiration — but a good chunk of any writing process is just turning up to do the reps, day after day, whether you feel like it or not.

Embracing boredom, by its very definition, does not sound exciting, I know. But boredom has a very powerful function.

Psychology researcher and author Dr. Sandi Mann calls boredom “a search for neural stimulation that isn’t satisfied… If we can’t find that, our mind will create it.”

In other words, when we’re bored with what we’re doing, our brains get creative. We start to think differently. We start looking for new opportunities. We get better at solving problems.

This is good news for writers of all stripes. No matter what you’re writing — private journal entries, articles, books or a thesis — sometimes it’s going to be boring. It’s going to feel like you’re hashing over the same old stuff again and again and again.

But there’s a little lightning rod of creativity hiding somewhere beneath your boredom, waiting for the process to clear away enough material that you finally spot it, glinting in a corner of your mind.

Writing is about trusting the process, and as I said in that piece, learning to trust is how magic happens.

So allow boredom its place in your process. Allow yourself to notice when you’re bored, and to be curious about what it might reveal, rather than trying to push it away.

It will pass, and in its place you might just find something that zings through your brain with the most satisfying of sizzles.