Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goal for 2018: Be Boring

In the past two days I managed to tear down a huge wall of writer's block. This sucker was beefy and cost me several months of writing (though looking at my word count, we're probably talking closer to a year). The culprit, I think, has been all of the life changes my family has gone through. Not only have these changes been distracting (and even derailing), they've also been entertaining. Walls to paint, rooms to decorate, new places in my neighborhood to visit...I guess it sounds like a good thing, huh? I mean, a lot of people believe that the key to writing a lot is living an interesting and varied life. The thing is, I disagree. I think the key to writing a lot is stability, and even boredom. When I first started teaching, it was my dream to write a book, but I couldn't get anything down on paper. Teaching was too new, and it was taking every ounce of creative energy I possessed to create lessons. The job turned my life upside-down, and I was perpetually drained. It wasn't until 2011, after I had been teaching for 4 or 5 years, that I was settled enough in my job to finally write a book. Three years later, my novel was finally finished.
~ Gustave Flaubert

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon devotes an entire chapter to this principle. The first paragraph sums up his argument nicely:
I'm a boring guy with a nine-to-five job who lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife and his dog. That whole romantic image of the creative genius...running around...is played out. It's for the superhuman and the people who want to die young. The thing is: It takes a lot of energy to be creative. You don't have that energy if you waste it on other stuff (Kleon 119).
I think that's the key. I need to get to a place of consistency again. I need my life to take on a sort of dull harmony, so that boredom can set in, and I can take all of that pent up creative energy and purge it onto pages on my screen.

Thus, my New Year's Resolution for 2018 is to be bored.

(For the record, I think this resolution is better than the one I made in 2015, in which I vowed to be a hermit crab stuffed into a broken piece of bottle).

Seriously, 2017 was too exciting. And too unsettling. Boredom sounds amazing. Can I get me some of that, please?

Happy New Year, and may yours be more exciting than mine!