Is Boredom Necessary for Creativity?

Even though I'm not Catholic I grew up in a neighborhood full of 'em. My friends always seem to feel better when they came home from confession so I thought maybe I'd try it. Here goes.

I'm bored. You know--like when you were a kid and you walked around the house moping and whining about how "boooooored" you were. Oh, I have plenty of work to keep me busy. It's just doing something that is creatively fulfilling has been well, largely missing lately. When I was a teenager my older brother predicted that I would have many boyfriends and even more jobs in my lifetime. At the time this was a very unconventional and upsetting thought. People were supposed to have one job and settle down early! When I asked him why he said simply, "You get bored easily."

Creativity is a Way of Life

Although I've tried to twist and turn away from this reality throughout the ensuing years I finally admitted that he was right. At heart I'm a curious creative who needs lots of ideas, stimulation, people and travel to keep me fresh, happy and productive. I'm one of those people who always has 50 things going at once and has a hard time falling asleep at night because of good old fear of missing out and of course--to many ideas streaming through the old synapses.

In the midst of a recent spate of boredom, I found this little ditty about the idea that being bored is good for your creativity. It and many other articles that subsequently came across my digital space advocate the idea of having your butt in the chair. That is, simply doing the work. Writing when you don't want to. Having a routine.

As a devout creative who often creates best when in flow this was an idea I had difficulty embracing. But rather than wait for inspiration to hit me I decided to do a bit of an experiment--to write about my boredom.

Here are a few hypotheses about my boredom:

1. I've had the same clients for a long time. It offer stability and allows me to really have an impact on my client's business. And yet...mixing and matching clients and work seems to give just the kind of creative juice I need.  So, I'm on the lookout for a new client or two to shake things up.

2. I haven't been out of my immediate surroundings since late April. That's 3 whole months! Way to long for this woman with a strong wanderlust. I'm remedying this with a quick out of town trip in the near future and planning a trip to Europe or another faraway land where I can go to museums, wander strange streets and sit in a cafe writing my book.

3. Lying on the couch is boring. I got whooping cough about 4 weeks ago so I've watched every movie ever made about 4 times.  With an average recovery time of 6-8 weeks I still have a bit more to go. On this one I think I just have to succumb to lying still. Hopefully I get enlightened by the end of my convalescence. Or at least see a new movie.

4. Birthdays can cause ambivalence. I recently had one. While I truly love the age I am it's also made me realize that I'm pretty solidly in middle age somehow. This is the point when people have seen and done alot. I guess this is when people run off with people way younger than them, get a facelift or buy that hot car. Um, I'm not interested in any of these but I do relate with the need to shake things up. See #2.

Creative Conclusions

I'm not sure I've completely licked this round of boredom yet. I'm still wondering if it's a necessary thing for my creativity or whether I should be actively running away from it as fast I can hightailing it to more passionate pastures.

When do you get bored?  What do you do about it?