Back in August, 2005, I read a stunningly good story by an author who was then unfamiliar to me. The author was Kelly Link, and the story, “Magic for Beginners,” was a sort of magical-realism-science-fiction-fantasy story with characters that were very well drawn. Since then, I’ve read some other stories by Link, and while I feel “Magic for Beginners” is her best story, everything I’ve read by her is good enough that I’m willing to listen when she says something about writing.
In an interview in the November, 2007, issue of Locus magazine, she asserts that boredom is useful, perhaps even necessary, for writers:
Boredom is useful for writers. I need a certain amount of boredom to get work done. But I also need to do other things besides sit at a desk and write…. You need other kinds of work, and you also need significant periods of stillness in order to have time to think. Boredom allows time for thinking. Even in writing, boredom serves a useful function in writing — if I’m boring myself when I write, it means I need to stretch myself, try something I haven’t done before….
I don’t know if boredom is useful to everyone who writes, but boredom certainly is useful for me when I’m trying to write. When I get overly busy — and I have been very busy the past month or so — I don’t write much, and what I write isn’t worth much.
Yet another reason for not letting excessive busy-ness creep into my life.