Fighting Boredom as a Writer? This Is Probably Why
You know the feeling. You stare at your computer screen or pad of paper and, in boredom, think, “Meh.”
Does this feeling really mean putting words on the page isn’t interesting anymore? Should you stop prioritizing your writing because of it and move on to something else?
The usefulness of boredom–and the trouble with writing
Boredom is a useful emotion that signals to us that, for whatever reason, the task we’re doing isn’t worth our time. Put another way, it’s about perception and reward. Applied to writing, if we don’t feel like the writing is going to yield anything good or can’t see that there’s an achievable benefit, then we can feel like the job is ho-hum and lose motivation.
The issue is that, unlike some other jobs, reaching goals like finding an agent or landing a book contract can be ridiculously difficult. We can go days, weeks, or even months without a sale. Rejections can be so plentiful that we start taking the suggestion to use all the “no” letters as wallpaper seriously. Beta readers might have great insights you take to heart, but positive feedback doesn’t come as consistently as it might from coworkers or a boss.
It all starts to seem like there’s no point.
It’s normal to need some wins to stay motivated when boredom hits
If you step back a bit, you might realize that your feeling of boredom is a signal that you’re antsy to have something happen. You’re still in love with the craft. It’s just that people naturally want to do things that other people acknowledge. It gives us a sense of belonging and identity. We’re always looking for that. You just need some confirmation that, if you keep putting in the work, then people will admit that it’s part of you and useful.
2 tips for eliminating boredom and getting excited about your writing again
I explored the need for you to have a support group in a previous post. You’ll probably be less bored the better your support group is. If you don’t have a great support group yet, though, then it’s crucial to reward yourself for the writing you finish. Give yourself something to look forward to related to the page. The reward can be simple, such as a drive-thru coffee you normally wouldn’t splurge on. The goal is to make positive associations with the work.
It also can help to put your work away and start at least one other project. Looking at the same draft over and over again can start to seem monotonous really fast. Setting your work aside for a little while and then coming back to it can help you see it with fresh eyes and keep it feeling novel (pun intended).
You’re still meant to put words to the page
Don’t let a feeling of boredom convince you that writing isn’t what you’re meant to do. Instead, ensure you’re getting rewarded for it and rotate out what you’re working on. By building in variety and giving yourself positive confirmations of value, you’ll stay happy and motivated to write.