This probably isn’t that uncommon. I’m sure a lot of people come up with interesting art because they are bored. However, these days I have had such a perfect illustration of how this applies to me and I’m very surprised.
Let me share my experience.
Like a lot of people, a few years ago, I started working entirely from home. I did not think this would affect my blog much. If anything, I figured I would have more time to work on it.
I have been writing a post a day for many years. Generally speaking, I haven’t struggled much to find something to blabber on about. Now we can argue about how interesting some of my posts are but from a writing perspective, I was always able to maintain my posting schedule fairly easily.
The way I did it was that instead of reading on my commute, I would write on my phone. Usually, I would get half a post done on my way to work and finish it up on my way back home. Sometimes, If I hit traffic or there was a lot of snow and the commute would take double the time, I could get more than one post done. That way I also slowly accumulated and bank of prewritten posts I could schedule ahead of time. This means that I could relax and write on my own schedule, and it was no big deal if I skipped a day here and there.
For instance, I tend to not write anything during my vacations. Because I’m on vacation. I’m either somewhere enjoying the views and stuff, or solidly parked on my couch, enjoying a very questionable diet and playing video games for unreasonable amounts of time. Obviously, I’m way too busy to write a post under those circumstances!
So when stay-at-home orders started to be issued, I figured this would be a breeze for me. Without all that time lost in transit, I could spend more time writing. I would often have so many potential posts in my head that I just didn’t have time to write them all out. I thought to myself, I could easily write a whole post in the morning before work and another entire one during my lunch break. I get up at five, so if all I have to do is go to the next room and write, I could still start work at 6. Easy breezy!
On top of that, I could spread out the housekeeping chores throughout the week. Go grocery shopping on an afternoon, do a load of laundry on a Wednesday morning, clean the kitchen on Tuesday at noon. And the instant return home meant that I could start cooking at 4p.m. instead of 5:30 and have dinner ready by 5 to eat whenever I feel like it. That opened up my evening so much.
I was gonna roll in the posts.
And then something weird happened. I would instinctively check my emails as soon as I opened my computer so morning posts became rare. The time I had previously spent commuting, I was now just working extra hours. I didn’t feel like writing in the evenings either, so I ended up just writing at lunchtime, and I had to really discipline myself to do so!
What was even more surprising, is that if I didn’t have a specific anime or manga that I had recently finished and wanted to review, I often found myself really struggling to find something to write about. I didn’t worry too much about it. I have written over 2000 posts on anime, so I figured I was bound to start running out of ideas at some point. Even before that I accidentally wrote very similar posts without realizing it.
So, I made myself a schedule and stuck to it but I found it much more difficult to keep up with my blog than I had before. I occasionally had to repost older posts to fill in some gaps or because all I had written for months were reviews and I wanted to diversify. I had all this extra time but with the distractions and entertainment all around me, I often just found myself doing something other than writing posts. I did still watch a lot of anime though, so that kept me solidly connected to my blog and the anime blogging community. It may have been a different story if I had lost my enthusiasm for it.
You might know that I have recently started going back to work in person. You would know that because I whine about it so much even though it’s not that big a deal. Although cases are really starting to soar here and I won’t lie, it does make me worried.
I currently work 3 days at the office and two days from home. And I have posts spilling out of me. Because most other offices still haven’t made their employees return and because we don’t come in on the same days, I’m often alone at the office, Most stores are closed which means I spend lunchtime in my work office either finishing up work and/or desperately trying to kill time.
On top of that, our transit system is currently undergoing an overhaul which has made my daily commute quite a bit longer than before. Roughly two hours a day. And the buses are largely empty. This means that I can comfortably write 1 or two posts on the bus each day and still have time to read a bit of manga.
More importantly, though, the ideas are just flowing. I have been reading other blogs and going through anitwitter regularly for the past two years. Much more frequently than I do now in fact. And although I would occasionally get an idea from it, it was fairly rare. Now I go through blogs and Twitter while I’m waiting for the bus and I pretty much always sit down with a new subject to write about in mind.
It’s crazy. I find myself just rushing to my phone to jot down post ideas because they are coming to me left and right. Whereas I was writing 4 or 5 posts (not counting my episode reviews) a week for the past two years, some weeks less. I’m now up to 7 or 8 and I could go for more.
What I’m realizing it’s that I probably couldn’t be one of those work-from-home professional bloggers. I love working from home and I can do it very well when I have a clear objective and task, But I’m just not the creative type. You know the type that just has a vision and they have to share it with the world! If I have to create something as vague as a post, I need to basically be isolated.
When I strip away the possibilities of doing other things, then I focus on writing posts and that unlocks my ideas. It’s funny but in practice, it means that the busier I am, the more productive my blogging is which really should be the other way around.
This is my current secret. Almost two hours a day where I really have nothing more interesting to do than write posts. So, I write them! It’s worked out pretty well.
20 thoughts on “The Secret to my Creativity is…Boredom?”
This reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s writing process. He locks himself up in a room and only does one or two things: write or nothing.
He’s allowed to not write, but he can’t do anything else, like rearrange the spice rack. Eventually this gets him writing. I too tend to focus better when I don’t bombard my mind with endless stimulation from my phone or laptop. Anyway, thanks for this post!
I didn’t know that but if it works for Neil Gaiman…
To be honest, I feel similarly – since I’m approaching the end of my degree, I’ve got time to spare and because I recently got a job, I not only freed myself of volunteering, I have more money than ever (although I doubled my commute time). However, with my extra time, I end up procrastinating instead of doing my assignments and whatnot…I know what I /should/ be doing with it – my degree isn’t complete until I complete a certain amount of hours of translation and in order to get a job in my field, I should brush up on my skills for the JLPT – but I still found myself stressed about what to do with my time recently…Maybe I’m just lamenting the loss of structure in my life…?
Structures is definitely one of my issues but I also have the unhealthy streak of getting motivation from pressure.
You’re very fortunate!
If I try to do anything involving reading or writing on any kind of moving transport, I start channeling Natsu. It is not pretty.
I know. I’m completely immune to motion sickness and it’s a great gift for me
Interesting. I wonder if some of why you are now just bursting with creative juices is this thing with habit forming. One great way to form a habit you want – like writing blog posts – is to have a triggering event for it – like your commute. So when you weren’t communting, your brain was not being triggered to write blog posts and think about things to blog about. About the time you started getting the brain retrained, you started commuting again and voila the blogging habit is back. Just a thought…
You sound like my brother. He’s always coming up with ideas and thoughts about stuff that I never really consider. Then again; a lot of my “Brain Power” gets devoted to whatever I’m doing in the moment- words to say; theories of whatever series I’m consuming; what I like and dislike from the media I consume; and other thoughts that keep me up at night. But AJAY- the way he talks I kind of wonder where he finds the time in the day!
I think that’s why I do best on an environment where there’s almost nothing to do in the moment!
There’s something about WordPress app that makes it nice to draft a blog post on the phone. I got most of my writing done that way too, but the only problem is that I write while I am on the job which is not a good thing.
Oh my, that is a dangerous way to blog!
A fascinating post! Now that I’m (tentatively) getting back into blogging again, I’m interested to hear about other people’s writing processes work. I guess it varies, depending on whether you do “episodic” reviews of new TV episodes/book chapters, or whether it’s a more “essay”-based (back in the old days, there seemed to be two camps in the community where writers gravitated towards one format or the other. I’ve no idea whether that’s still a thing!)?
I’m guessing that the former is easier to schedule than the latter; I can imagine that it’s easy to get into a good routine when you keep up with something that’s currently airing. I don’t know about you, but writing about a stand-alone movie or a post that discusses a more vague theme or concept is more difficult. I think that’s why I find it so difficult to write updates on a regular basis: it all depends on how much free time I have and whether I have something that I feel is worth writing about! I have a couple of drafts saved to my hard drive though, just in case I’m doing a lot of overtime, or if writer’s block hits.
Then there’s the pandemic, which is kinda tricky to predict. Working from home might’ve been a bigger deal for me if my commute were longer, but it doesn’t really add up to much. Theoretically, I should still be watching more TV since I don’t feel comfortable socialising as much, but it’s had less of an effect than I thought. It’s as though Pandemic Time runs at a different speed, because I don’t know where all those months went!
I do enjoy the built in content of specific reviews but at the same time, I find that if I don’t vary forms a bit, I end up getting very repetitive in how I review things.
I’m not sure there is still a hard divide in the blogging community, but I do find that bloggers tend to go towards one style or the other, possibly out of habit or comfort. There are a few bloggers that do both though
You’re super lucky Irina! When I get bored, I don’t get a burst of productive inspiration and creativity, I just fall asleep. Lol.
On the bus?? That’s amazing too!
bus, train, airplane, if I get bored I can fall asleep anywhere! When I was younger I got in trouble many times for falling asleep during class.
Now that is a great gift. I hope it stays that way for you.
You too? Awesome! I once wrote a book I e published on lulu called Tales Of The Frolicking Mare in that same state of boredom. I still need to write Book 2… And sell Book 1. Oh well. Boredom does strange motivating things in us. Just look at the YouTube channel Kittisaurus. At its heart it’s 7 Basic Cats vs Human Boredom.
I can believe it. After all, boredom means nothing of urgency is happening, meaning your brain can focus on processing your experiences, and turn them into ideas.
I don’t think I will be able to work in an office though. Not only I can’t write on my phone, (typing a blog post on a touchscreen is not recommended as a blind person) meaning, the entire time I’m traveling, I’m wasting my time.
Given how I’ve managed to write despite staying at home, I don’t think I will have troubles like you have. (But then again, not everyone is the same.)
Say, I would like to have some advice from you. Do you think that I should start reviewing episodes of an anime, instead of one big review of an overall show? Manga is out of the question, because my blindness.
I suppose I could try reviewing light novel chapters from Baka-Tsuki.
I’m asking this, because I want to go daily, and so far, I haven’t managed to find a way. I also consider whether it is a good idea to go daily or not. After all, not everyone can manage it.
Anyway, Thanks for a wonderful post, IRINA.
hmmm, In my experience reviewing single episodes of anime is alittle easier and it does get decent views, especially if it’s recent animes as there are people searching to watch those episodes online, but they get a lot less engagement than full series reviews. It really depends where you want to go with your blog. I enjoy doing both myself but I keep my episode reviews to the weekends.