As I write this blog post, an episode of the long-running British murder mystery show Midsomer Murders is streaming on my iPad. I have seen this one before, probably multiple times. Actually, I have seen all of them but don’t always remember them. This one is familiar although I am not sure I could name the killer.
Meanwhile, I digress. I am only half or maybe a quarter paying attention. It is entertaining the part of my brain that would prefer to be doing anything except writing a blog post. Food TV, the old version where people cooked rather than competed, was a favorite while I wrote my doctoral dissertation. I always felt a little guilty about this practice, as though I wasn’t fully concentrating on the writing, but it worked for me.
So, I felt a little vindicated when Brené Brown, in the section on boredom in Atlas of the Heart, described her writing process:
A big part of my book writing routine is watching super predictable, formulaic mysteries–even ones I’ve seen ten times. These shows would bore me to tears if were in a normal mental space. But when I’m coding data and writing, something weird happens. It’s like the shows lull the easily distracted part of my brain into a rhythmic stupor, setting free the deeper meaning-making part of my brain to engage and start making connections between things that don’t seem connectable. I actually sit on my couch with a notepad next to me because the more bored I get, the more ideas bubble to the surface (p. 40).Atlas of the Heart: mapping meaningful connection and the language of human experience, brené Brown
Early January has had moments of boredom for me as I few commitments compared to the busyness of the fall. Life is a little dull, frankly. And yet, my writing and other creative pursuits seem to be thriving. Ideas, as Brown describes, are bubbling up and I am taking time to pursue them. So, while boredom opens the door to creativity, I am giving myself permission to write about what interests me, in a way that I hope connects with others, sharing larger lessons learned from my experiences.
Who knows? I may even write about Midsomer Murders.