In college, I dreamed of becoming a professor. In the midst of doing an intensive semester-long independent study, one of my professors told me that scholars must possess a large capacity for boredom. For years, I’ve thought the same thing about writing. Often, the research for a particular article or book means slogging through a hundred boring articles in hopes of discovering one brilliant fact. Despite novels like Possession(A.S. Byatt) and The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova), my real-life research has rarely included romance and vampires.
Recently, I’ve begun to change my mind about boredom. Here’s the thing: life is too short to be bored. On top of that, readers can tell when a writer is bored. It shows. Valerie Sherwood said, “Don’t write what you know—what you know may bore you, and thus bore your readers. Write about what interests you—and interests you deeply—and your readers will catch fire at your words.”
It’s important to pay attention to what haunts you, what images or memories keep running around in your mind even when you try not to think about them.
Writers, when you pursue your passions, you will hit writing gold. Ponder the questions that bug you like a stone in your shoe. Write about the ideas that keep you up at night and wake you in the morning. Devote your life to writing about your fierce wonderings and bottomless questions. I cannot imagine a happier existence.
Your turn. How do your fierce wonderings and bottomless questions feed your writing?