If you’re bored with the subject you’re writing about, it won’t work to try and think your way out of it, or to convince yourself to write. I know all too well that when that’s the case I can find a million things that are suddenly far more pressing, like cleaning out a (clean) cupboard or repairing a household appliance. But often, boredom is an indication that we don’t know enough about our subject matter, and that our writing has simply subsided into going through the motions.
There’s a simple solution: Find out more! Read more on your topic; travel to the location; find maps from your time period; investigate the place with Google Earth Street View; go to a museum; ask questions; look for original documents; engage your senses to gain more knowledge and understanding about your theme. As you find out more, write scenes to inform your work, or a dialogue between characters that will inform you about their situation, setting, personalities or role in the story as a whole. Beware of your motives in extended periods of research, however: Are you procrastinating, or percolating?
I look at it this way: If I’m not getting anywhere with a manuscript, I can either give in and call it “writer’s block” and allow it to paralyze me, or I can proactively work against that block in what I call “percolating mode” – thinking around the problems that I’ve run into, and use the time to inform myself, learn about the time period, and investigate aspects of the story that I am interested in. That block may be like a boulder in the stream’s path, but my writing, like water, will eventually find a way around it.
Let that boulder of a writer’s block make you stronger and more diversified – and keep on writing!
2 responses to “Writing Tip: Dealing with Boredom”
Percolating mode … I like that. As usual, your advice is spot-on.