Boredom: The Key to Creativity?

I hate boredom. Of my many flaws, one of the most evident is my addiction to mental stimulus. If I have a stretch of spare time I will fill it with web surfing, reading articles, playing games, or watching videos. If the spare time continues long enough I’ll start hitting the bottom of the barrel. I’ll find myself on some funny picture website for an hour, after spending the previous three checking and rechecking blogs, news sites, and webcomics.

In short, I don’t idle very well.

Unfortunately for me, I think boredom may be a vital element of creativity. When we take in a great deal of content, it’s hard to produce our own. When we are constantly devouring other people’s ideas we have trouble identifying our own. In some ways it seems like creativity, rather than a noble pursuit for beauty and truth and originality, may be an act of desperation. Without other people’s ideas to sustain us we’re forced to develop our own. Without other people’s creations to entertain us we have to entertain ourselves.

It is simply 100% easier to consume a creative work than to produce one. Some of the most creative times in my own life have occurred when I had nothing more interesting to do than create.

Now that I’ve discovered this principle, I’m not sure what to do with it. Lock myself in an empty room with nothing but a notebook and a pencil? I don’t know. But from now on, instead of putting all my efforts into annihilating periods of boredom I’ll try to cultivate them instead. Quiet moments with no one to talk to besides myself.

It might work.


About Mark Hamilton

I am, in no particular order, a nerd, an aspiring writer, a Christian, an aspiring filmmaker, an avid reader, a male, a YEC, a GM, and a twenty something. I like learning how things are made, finding out how to do things from scratch, and I you can find more of my writing at

Posted on January 28, 2014, in Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A computer programmer once told me that the only reason he learned a computer language was because he was bored. Because of boredom I actually started writing a story on my blog (which has impressed me because I’m clearly NOT a writer). Therefore, I think you may be correct…boredom may very well be a vital element to creativity.

  2. Humans are the only creatures to have invented boredom.
    How one can ever get bored is beyond me.There is just too much life out there.

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