Does boredom cultivate inspiration?


People often ask what inspires my stories, and the answer is many things; sometimes personal experience, sometimes people, sometimes places, sometimes news articles and sometimes…boredom.

Boredom can only take place in an absence of distraction and as such it can prove fertile ground for all manner of great ideas. When I was stuck in a particularly tedious traffic jam a few years ago, I came up with the idea for what my wife maintains is the best book I have written to date – a contemporary teenage romance with an unusual religious twist. The story was completely outside my usual genre fiction comfort zone, but nevertheless it came to me almost fully formed, like a download.

However, whilst the start and end were crystal clear, I lacked second act complications and a setting. I lived in the north-east of England at the time, but somehow that didn’t seem an appropriate location. It was only when I moved to the south-west in the summer of 2006 that I suddenly found my new home to be the ideal setting. Furthermore, at that time I also devised the bulk of the second act after being inspired by rediscovering Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.

This novel – tentatively titled Honour – was one of two near misses I have had with the mainstream publishing industry in that it was almost published in 2008. It was a very disappointing and frustrating experience, but it taught me a thing or two, and I have no doubt that Honour will at some stage see the light of day. I might even self-publish it next year.

Sob stories aside, I conclude by reiterating my belief that it is vital for authors to occasionally experience weapons grade boredom. You may suddenly be inspired to write your best work.

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