Bored... and Brilliant?

Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Until recently, I thought I could do several things at once. It was easy--and productive--for me to watch listen to something semi-silly on television while I worked on a WIP and occasionally checked my email/blog... or so I thought. I thought I was making efficient use of my time. I mean, I could destress  veg out a bit and get something done at the same time and stay connected, which was all good, right?

But then I heard a couple of tidbits this summer--both about our brains--that got me 1) amazed and 2) reflective.

The amazed part first. Everyone's had the experience of trying to remember an author's name, the title of a movie you saw decades ago, the name of a former neighbor. You can't retrieve it right away, so you set it aside, knowing that at some point the information will just appear. Sometimes it happens in the middle of another conversation with a different person, hours later. The name/title suddenly blasts into your brain, and you can't help yourself: you blurt it out immediately because you're so surprised.

Well, what I didn't know (Did you?) is even though we discontinue searching the recesses of our brain for the information, our brain doesn't stop. All the while that we're doing other things, no longer concerned with trying to remember what that Viggo Mortensen movie was called, our brain continues to try and solve the puzzle. Behind the scenes, it's working the whole time.

Which works for writing, too. There are occasions when I have a plot/organization problem with a writing project, and it suddenly bursts forth into my consciousness.

Amazing, right?

And now, the tidbit that made me reflective. This summer I heard about a TED talk/challenge/book about being bored. The premise is we're always checking our email/Facebook/Insta-twitter-chat-whatever. Our phones/tablets/screens are attached to us via a regrown umbilical cord. We're checking them so often, we aren't being creative.

To be truly creative or problem-solving, we need the quiet and inactivity that boredom affords us.

For me, it's definitely not the phone but I do check my blog more often than I should, along with my email. (I don't really do Facebook or anything else social-media.) And I watch too much TV as I'm simultaneously working on a writing project... or so I try and convince myself.

This Ted Talk by Manoush Zomorodi is entertaining and fascinating and educational. I've tried to make this post as succinct as possible, so you'll be willing to take the time to watch it... and consider getting bored on a regular basis.

How about you? Are you willing to curtail your phone/Facebook/email/blog checking to just once or twice a day for a week? You just might find your creativity explodes in the vacuum created by boredom...

Sioux Roslawski is going to stop watching reruns of her favorite shows. She's also going to limit her blog and email-checking to twice a day... so she can make some genuine headway on her WIP/manuscript/gonna-be-a-book-someday project. If you'd like to read more of her stuff (seriously, are you a glutton for punishment?) check out her blog.


Renee Roberson said...

Hmm, I wonder if this is why I get so many of my good ideas in the shower? Because I'm usually blind in there without contacts and can't even read the back of a shampoo bottle for entertainment! But seriously, though, I agree with you. When I'm working on fiction (or non-fiction) I try to do it in a place without anything in the background except for maybe some music that won't distract me. I need to find that Ted Talk and show it to my kids. I'm so sick of seeing this generation of kids glued to their phones and watching mindless YouTube videos when they could be doing something creative or active.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux, the movie with Viggo Mortensen is Eastern Promises...the one with the super long fight scene in the sauna where Viggo fights nude for 5 minutes (literally). I'm sure that's the movie you're looking for. ;)

What a thought provoking post! I'm like you--I don't do social media but check my email constantly. I don't like to let it pile up, and if I only did it once a week, I'd have thousands of emails to come back to, which would not be fun. I also watch way too much TV. Back when I was a full-time artist, we used to sacrifice TVs by throwing them off the roof of our loft into the alley and watch them implode. Or we'd pile them up in the corner of our loft on top of each other, put them all on static, and paint on them. I've always felt that if you want to create, really create, you need to cut TV and other media out of your life completely. When I did that, I produced over a hundred pieces a year--a mixture of paintings, comics, illustration, sculpture, and dolls--and had an art show once a month. So Zomorodi is correct. I'll be sure to check out that Ted Talk. Thanks for that! :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--They ARE glued to their phones. I guess every young person today is a doctor or dictator of a country, because what they're getting on their phone is a life or death matter.

Angela--Surely you jest. Surely you aren't saying there is a slight possibility I do NOT know of the one movie where Viggo is completely nude? (Unfortunately, they moved so fast in that sauna. I heard his interviewed once, and he said that fight scene was hard to do, because when someone's nude, what do you grab onto?)

Thanks for the image you gave me--a bunch of artists throwing TVs into an alley. What a hoot!

Margo Dill said...

Sioux, this is interesting. I can say that I very rarely feel bored, but I do need quiet to think about my WIP. I will check out this TED talk. Thank you for sharing it!

Kim Lehnhoff said...

I also multi-task, and accomplish nothing. I constantly review social media while listening to news, or while listening to an audiobook.

I'm bored while doing these things, and I assume I am also becoming boring. It's all blah.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--You're quite welcome.

Kim--I know you. You write well under pressure, when you have to leave for your writing critique group in an hour and a half. And you are FAR from "blah."

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