When writing becomes boring

Immortals

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A lot of writing advisers will inevitably advise about writer’s block, but don’t often consider writer’s boredom: when a writer has an idea, but doesn’t have the desire to write the story.

There is, of course, the possibility that the writer doesn’t actually want to really write the story. Writing is a high ambition for many people, and there are far more writers than professional writers. Writing is all about motivation, and what makes a professional writer is the writer that really wants to tell their story, not that wants to be paid to write that story. If a writer doesn’t have the genuine motivation, then the writing just won’t happen, and that leads to a writer being bored of writing from not being genuinely interested by it.

But writer’s boredom can still be a problem to writers who are genuine. I want to write what excites me, which is why writing has become my hedonistic pursuit, but there was a time when I scribbled down hundreds of notes about a fictional universe I was constructing (Immortals) to exciting rock music, but I soon became bored of writing those notes into a story. So it’s possible that a story is boring a writer because the writer is focused too much on world-building, and not enough on character. Of course, the other possibility is that the writing can’t happen because the writer’s boredom is a subconscious response to more important problems in the writer’s life. A writer who’s become bored of their writing, but isn’t just a fake, may have unresolved issues that the writer is trying to ignore – particularly if the writer is a student. I myself am returning to university this September (BA (Hons.) Film Studies and Screenwriting), and often find myself needing to sideline my writing in order to meet deadlines with coursework and essays. And if I know that I haven’t completed them, I just don’t write – because I can’t. I can only write when I know that I’m writing for the writing, and not as procrastination for something else. But sometimes it’s something more psychological. This summer break has been an important time for me, because I’ve finally come to understand that my constant mood swings aren’t normal. Often, they can cause me to experience prolonged periods of intense lows, when there’s no point in me attempting anything creative on account of being bored of everything for no particular reason. The Human brain is just a very sophisticated, naturally-occurring machine, and machines run programmes. I can’t write if I can see the (1) symbol on my Gmail tab, or if the Skype window is highlighted in orange. I’ll be looking at the writing, but I’ll be seeing these subtle distractions in my lateral vision. Ideally, a writer should eliminate these distractions anyway, but the same goes for life: eliminate the problems, and nothing will be there to distract the writer from the writing. That’s what writer’s boredom mostly is – the knowledge that there could be something more interesting in that moment than writing. Writers are people pursuing their creativity, so the potential for something more interesting than writing is a natural worry, that writing is just a waste of time, and boredom is simply one manifestation of reasonable resistance. But understanding that can often be what helps cure it. Write down those distractions, and tick them off. Confront your problems. That goes for not just writing, but for life. Once your problems are solved, they’re solved. And then the writing can flourish.

Author: the Purple Prose Mage

I'm not Batman, but I wish that I were.

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