Obstacles: Discover Challenge


image courtesy of Pixabay

“I’m bored.” If I said it once I must have said it a thousand times during my childhood. I was an easily bored child.My boredom forced my mother to be creative and later it forced me to be creative. Instead of doing what I always did, or what the other children were doing I came up with my own games showing creativity in the design of them. One of these games was lepers. This can be seen here in the child’s voice and here in an adult voice.

Not only does boredom lead to creativity in childhood it is also the catalyst for change in chosen artistic pursuits. In fact, I would go so far as to say that boredom is a necessity in order to think outside the norm, activating our creativity in numerous ways. In art it may be a new technique of applying the paint, a different way of firing the clay. In writing it may be applying techniques that as an artist you don’t normally use in your writing.

In my own work there are numerous examples. My thesis for my masters by research was born from boredom with myself and my story. My creative work had come to a full stop as a result and I feared readers would be as bored as I was. I have searched and found techniques that allowed me to renew my passion and time will tell if I have achieved as a result a compelling sequel memoir to follow the memoir of our time in Vanuatu which was full of drama and tension.

In blogging also, boredom with the same format would see me experiment with different styles. Although I am not a poet I would try my hand at poetry. Not knowing the criteria for the different types of poetry I would just write and hope it worked but I wanted something more. As well as the imagery created by the words I wanted a visual poem that also displayed the emotion behind the piece. Called Renewal I show the slide downwards into homelessness and the descent to rock bottom and then with a V,  I show both the victory for the homeless created by  a single woman, Veronika, and represent the first letter of her name.

Having realised that boredom is both an obstacle and the means to freeing creativity I look further to see whether this has also been found by others and I am not surprised by the findings. A study conducted at Pennsylvania University by Gasper and Middlewood found that people that were bored outperformed people that were contented with their positioning. Another study from Central Lancashire University (Mann and Cadman) divided their participants into three groups and again found that those doing the most boring task (reading a phone book) had the highest levels of creativity.

It can only be concluded that the process of boredom (or the associated daydreaming which often accompanies it) makes people seek new ways of changing a current situation that is lacking and will look at creative ways to adjust a situation.

In response to Daily Post’s Discover prompt.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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19 Responses to Obstacles: Discover Challenge

  1. Of course. Makes total sense. I mean, if you’re content, you’re not going to do much about it are you? This: “people that were bored outperformed people that were contented with their positioning.” The phone book test was hilarious (and a bit surprising as I think I might have been annoyed or just fallen asleep). 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting and thought provoking. I guess I never thought to my constant complaint of also being bored would lead to my more creative endeavours.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Norah says:

    That’s interesting, Irene. I would say that I was rarely, if ever, bored. There was always something to think about, some new idea to dream up or invention to create. I was never bored with my own thoughts. Perhaps it’s a way we interpret the word. The more mundane and boring tasks that I have to do now leave no time for my own thoughts but require quite a lot of concentration. They are totally boring, exhausting, and kill any possibility of thought. Give me the freedom to think any day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perhaps you just didn’t know you were bored which was why you had so much time to have your own thoughts. One lot of research says that boredom promotes daydreaming and it is the daydreams that enhance the creativity. I know what you mean when you say you now have to concentrate on boring tasks. What the researchers would say is that if you were asked for solutions to a problem post doing your boring activity you would have more creative solutions than someone who hadn’t been doing a boring task. Food for thought.


  4. Lisa Reiter says:

    As another who was always complaining of being bored as a child, I’m delighted to find some positive relationship to creativity! I’m bored of my manuscript – as I suspect the whole world knows by now – and have been looking into how to undo the negative conditioning that adds to my full time avoidance of the finishing line! I’m attempting some company through the course I’ve started but if you have any other tips Irene with what worked for you, I’d be forever in your debt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sound as though you are at where I was at about 30,000 words into my second memoir. I have to admit I put it in the drawer for a bit and read as many memoirs as I could looking for what I liked and what I didn’t. I then experimented by adding in things I liked and making sure I didn’t do what I disliked. If I had the luxury of being able to change it totally I would. I’d love to read yours. It sounds as though your identity at the beginning is different from your identity at the end and you have some problem in understanding that person that was. I may have got that all wrong but I think that would be a really interesting angle to attack it from. I also think as I said to you earlier that you could write it in a first person /third person hybrid. Not necessarily doing the third person as fiction but showing that their is a disconnect between that person and yourself as you currently are. Sometimes too I think we try and overthink the whole thing and at some point it is good to get someone else to peruse it and say what they think. You have to be sure they’ll be honest and perhaps your course will give you that. An important thing is to work out what you want the reader to come away knowing – what your theme is. Then go through it and see if everything written is necessary for that theme. Dialogue and high definition scenes need to be carefully considered. Metaphors, particularly with your subject can be fantastic and writing your body enmeshes the reader into the narrative.
      What worked for me – I’m still not happy with mine (although I probably shouldn’t say that) so as a guide I don’t know that I have the answers. Look forward to seeing what you do to get yourself out of your slump. I think we all reach that point at some stage in our writing.


  5. noelleg44 says:

    This is one of the things I love about your blog, Irene – it’s so creative! I think children today are not having their creative juices stimulated – they just play digital games, where the thinking is done for them. The best thing we ever did for our kids is chuck them outside and tell them to go play. Or have our living room turned into a fort on rainy day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An interesting examination of the outcomes of boredom! Of course it’s associated with creativity—it makes sense! The story about Lepers is hilarious! Your creativity had an early start!

    Liked by 1 person

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