There are worse things than being bored. You could be trapped in a cavern of horrors behind a green door. You could lose a year of your life in which you might have committed murder. You could be stuck in a heat wave, staring at a swimming pool that isn't clean enough to swim in.
I want my writing to be interesting, clearly, and as a writer of thrillers, a certain amount of excitement is rightly to be expected. But if being bored isn't the worst thing in the world, why should I be terrified of it in my writing? Do I want to write a boring story? Um, no. But do I need to fret over every little passage, afraid it might bore some readers?
There aren't many books that I don't skip passages in. I'm a terrible reader in some ways. I have such a poor visual imagination that I skim through or skip over most lengthy descriptive passages. I can't conjure the image in my mind, so I bore easily.
And what do I do when I'm bored?
I don't put the book away. I don't stop reading the story. I skim or skip. I only give up reading if there seems to be no hope for a pay off. If I don't have an investment in the story -- if I don't see an end to the boredom -- if I feel trapped by tedium -- then I might stop reading.
So, if being bored isn't the worst thing in the world and I know that my own boredom of the moment doesn't kill an entire work for me as a reader, why should I be afraid of it as a writer?
A couple of years ago, I entered a content that encouraged courageous writing. My piece, "I Need This," was honored and I was able to publish, "Terminal Instar," in the Notes from Underground anthology. It took some guts. Some of it was what Rachel Thompson and Lorrie Moore would call, "writing something I would never show my mother or my father." Some of it, though, was writing minor little digressions that might risk boring some readers.
In the end, it's often times the digressions that get me my most positive feedback. It's taking a moment, amidst the adrenaline and emotional trauma, to philosophize a bit that I think gives my writing its special character. I don't just write thrillers. I write thrillers that linger and contemplate. No, I don't linger in the moment like RJ Ellory does. Instead, I linger in the ideas behind the scenes like Chuck Palahniuk might. It's a recipe that I think serves me well, but it's a recipe that risks boring people.
Whatever you do, if you put your all into it, if you try to own that thing you do, you need to show courage. That doesn't just mean the adrenaline junkie kind of daring. That means being brave enough to risk boring people.
You will probably manage to do just that.
But you will also reap great rewards. And the truth is, most of the time, if you're good at what you do, you bore yourself more than you bore other people.
So. As readers -- what do you do when something gets boring? And, as followers of whatever path life has taken you down -- do you shy away from doing those things which might bore your clients?