Advertising is the price of being boring, Rob Eager of Wildfire Marketing posted last week. If you are not boring you get all kinds of free word of mouth advertising. The rest of us have to pay dearly for such advertising. We are fascinated by people who live exciting lives, using and abusing drugs, living on the edge, going to extremes. What about the rest of us who live simple, boring lives?
Why does boring get such a bad rap? Right about now there are thousands of households throughout the US where the word has become anathema. Children right and left are complaining about being bored and getting themselves into trouble in their efforts to not be bored.
There was a time when I thought that I could either be a writer or happy. The two did not align. If you were happy, what was there to write about? “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” Leo Tolstoi tells us in the first line of Anna Karenina. There is no story there. If stuck with those two options, I would rather be happy than be miserable and a writer.
I’ve since learned that you can be a writer and live a happy, well-adjusted life. Also, I’ve learned that boredom isn’t a block to creativity. In fact, boredom is the artist’s tool. It is only after spending hours examining the depths of a flower or a tree that we come to some semblance of appreciation. Art thrives on boredom.
Bored children may get themselves into trouble, or if left to their own devices, they may come up with a whole new world of adventure, in which they are the stars. Good fodder for writing stories. If we are too busy going to extremes, traveling to wild and exotic places and meeting new people, we never find the quiet required to reflect deeply on our experiences and make sense of them.
I understand what Eager is saying. He is encouraging writers to take risks, try new ideas, don’t dish up the same old same old to your readers; make sure you are producing a quality product that people want to read. Still, if I have to choose between my boring, quiet, routine life and sales, I’ll stick with boring. Routine is good. Having some semblance of sanity in an insane world is good.
So, I may not be a reality star. My life isn’t filled with drama; I leave that for the drama queens among us. I’m not dealing with any major life crisis at the moment and I like it that way. Bring on the boredom. I find excitement a plenty watching the hummingbirds out my porch window, riding my bike, reading a good book, sharing a meal with my husband. Life is good. Boring is good!
What do you think? Can boredom be a good thing or problematic?