Boredom and Creativity by Rowena Cory Daniells (#fantasy)

Boredom and Creativity
by Rowena Cory Daniells 

Boredom is a Wonderful Thing. I’m referring to the kind of boredom that drives an enquiring mind to search for stimulation.

According to this article in Scientific American people who are easily bored are more likely to take part in risky behaviour. I’m not that type. Back when I had my bookshop, boredom led me to try new authors. Nowadays, boredom leads me to surf the net reading science blogs and researching obscure details for my books. (yes, I’m that exciting).

As a kid in school I would read all my text books the week before school began, thendaydreammy way through school because I was bored. Since I was reading Dickens and Norse sagas in primary school, the stories in my head were much more interesting than what was happening in the classroom.

But I lacked visual stimuli. I lived in a small coastal town that consisted of fibro houses and gum trees. And I couldn’t escape through television as it was black and white in those days, and incredibly bland. There were only a couple of stations and they would replay the same episodes of US shows like Gilligan’s Island over and over.

Except for me, Gilligan’s island looked like this:

Which is a lot less interesting.

Did they ever escape from the island? I didn’t know but I read Coral Island, Robinson Crusoe and the Swiss Family Robinson. I was fascinated by the challenge of surviving using what was available on the island and what had washed in from the shipwreck, consequently I spent a lot of my childhood daydreamingabout surviving on a coral island. Then I read Lord of the Flies. Sigh… (I really felt for Piggy).

The only way I could travel and see amazing things was by going through old copies of National Geographic. So I ‘saw’ the world in those high coloured 1950s photos.

There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming. According to this article in New Scientist, daydreams can help you stumble across ideas. As a writer, I find plot holes and plot challenges are resolved by my subconscious when I’m doing other things. This is very useful because it means any mundane task can serve a higher purpose. Mowing the grass for instance, is physical yet repetitive enough for my mind to wander and make connections.

My tendency to daydream is so strong, I once found myself at home with no memory of closing up my bookshop. I didn’t have a car so I had to walk a couple of kilometres back to the shop to make sure I had actually emptied the till and locked the shop. (I had). At the time I wasn’t worried by this but now that I look back it was a bit weird.

There are so many half-written stories in my head that I am never bored. If I find myself trapped in a queue or waiting for a doctor, I slip into the world of the current book I’m writing and catch up with the characters.

So embrace your daydreams and allow boredom to drive you to seek out stimulation. (See here on New Scientist Eight ways to boost creativity).

What do you do when you’re bored?


About the Series

Rowena’s King Rolen’s Kin series is being re-released to launch the Solaris Classics line with lovely upgraded covers. The four books come out a month apart, The King’s Bastard is already out. As a bonus, the e-book novella, The King’s Man, has been printed in the back of book two, The Uncrowned King. (This is what Beauty in Ruins thought of book one).

Twitter: @rcdaniells


  1. I've definitely lost some time due to thinking. But for me, it's typically worse than walking home and not remembering if I locked a shop … like when I'm driving and I can't remember how I got from A to B. 😐 At least when you are walking you aren't endangering lives. But some things just become so automatic that it's easy for your mind to wander. Sometimes I have to break up my order just so that I know I did everything I was suppose to.

    I love hearing about how you transported yourself to islands via National Geographic magazines. :) I do that … but it's usually through blogger images and descriptions. I read about a place and see the pictures, and then I add it to my bucket list. I've had to limit which places I read about (like only reading about places I'm actually traveling to on vacation), so that my bucket list won't expand any more than it already is.

    Anyway, so while I think embracing daydreams, reading awesome books, seeing great tv shows, and visiting unique locations, are all great attributes, I think I would caution that losing yourself for an hour or two can also be dangerous … to your bank account or even others.

    Thanks for writing such a thoughtful post. :)

    1. Hi Mandy,
      Lovely to hear from you. Yes, give yourself permission to dream. I think it keeps the mind active and creative, more childlike in that you keep learning.
      Cheers, Rowena


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