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Posts Tagged ‘engagement’

Sometimes I feel really lucky to be an artist.

Not that there aren’t drawbacks: the constant stream of rejection, the competitiveness, the consequences of being even a little bit in the public eye, the self-doubt, etc.

But I understand myself well enough to realize I need the constant challenges in order to remain enthusiastic and engaged in being alive. Some people don’t need constant challenges. They’ve figured out how to make their lives work, more or less, and they do those things without constantly striving for more, or better, or different. And they are often content.

Trying something new...in Bali.

Trying something new…in Bali.

I would get so bored. I feel like we’re not supposed to admit that, that boredom is a possibility or something we experience. Boredom feels like it belongs in the realm of childhood summers before kids became so over-scheduled. Boredom feels like something we’re no longer supposed to have the time or inclination for.

Well, however untrendy it is to admit this, in certain circumstances I get bored. I get bored when I’m just clocking it in. I get bored when I’m not fully engaged. I get bored when I’m not pushing myself or learning something or trying something new. I get bored when I’m not thinking all that much. I get bored when everything in my life feels very static.

I also get bored at traffic lights, and waiting for people who are late, and talking on the phone to banks and health insurance companies and phone companies.

Anyway, there are a lot of strategies for minimizing boredom, but being an artist is possibly my favorite. Because as an artist, I never feel any urge to settle. I never feel that I can stop pushing to get better or to do something different or innovative or risky. Whenever I’m working on a book, I’m always aware there will be a next book, and then another book after that. And who knows where I will get to go for those books! And I spend a lot of time thinking and brainstorming and problem solving and doing targeted practice.

It really does keep life very exciting.

Also, Margaret Atwood is going to turn seventy-six in November, and she just had a new novel come out. Which makes me feel quite optimistic about a future for me in which I keep writing more and more books and challenge myself in different ways and never have to stop being an artist and keeping myself engaged.

Being an artist actually reminds me to stay interested. You wouldn’t think I’d need any help with that, but it’s so easy to take the path of least resistance, even when that’s not what you really want. But I have this idea that it’s healthy as an artist to keep feeding your brain and your imagination, so I’m always looking for opportunities to do so. Which has the great side effect of keeping me engaged.

But while being an artist is my personal favorite strategy, there are many more. What are some of your strategies for fending off boredom and staying engaged?

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