Looking back on the past six weeks, I was suffering from a bad case of T.M.I.
Too much information.
The signs were all around me. I had a full-time professorship, was launching two books, and served as head deacon of a 3,000-member church. Everything I did involved absorbing, processing and regurgitating information. I got to the point where I couldn’t really even enjoy reading books or watching TV. I must have gone through eight different novels trying to find one that would keep my attention, but my brain was fried.
Yesterday was graduation, and last week as I pondered what I wanted to do this summer, the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to work in the yard. And so I spent some quality time this morning, pulling weeds.
People often ask authors where they come up with their ideas for their books. I know I’ve gotten my share of students and others asking that very question. Much of it comes from reading lots of other people’s books, watching TV and movies analytically, and just observing life.
But I’ve found that a critical part of my creative process is doing mundane things, like washing dishes, mowing the lawn or…pulling weeds. It gives your brain time to process, regroup, recover. And truly, I found my mind wandering to writing projects as I worked. A writer’s mind never truly rests.
My colleague and good friend Kyle Portbury says that boredom is necessary for creativity to happen. I agree. But if you are truly creative, you’re never really bored.