What Makes Boring Art Boring?

Dear Reader,

One thing that I have constantly heard is for a writer to, no matter what, make a story as interesting as possible. If a story is not interesting, readers are not going to read it and the writer will end up having to either become a sell-out or else be content with the fact that no one reads his or her books. Neither of these options are desirable, so making something interesting seems pretty important. However, interesting is a very subjective word. No doubt it is a word I use a lot, but that is only because I am a bad and lazy writer. (Interesting is also a useful word when I do not wish to insult something or someone, but do not want to fully project my negative view. A friend’s tablecloth they made themselves can be described as “interesting” and can give the friend the false impression that I found the cloth to be well-constructed and original).

Really, though, the word interesting is a copout in most situations. But how to describe interesting? What makes something interesting? What makes something boring? Yes, yes, this is all up to the individual, but that is not what I am getting at. From what I understand, people like what they can understand and relate to mentally and emotionally. A book about mental health may be more interesting for someone who has had mental health issues of their own versus someone who has not.

There must be a key difference between relating to something and taking in something stale. Think about it. If someone was to present you a book with every event that has happened to you in the last day, most or all of this would not be interesting to you. Unless suffering from an unbalanced memory, you would probably remember most of what has just happened to you. The book would present you with no new information, and thus you would become bored. However, if this book were written from an alternative viewpoint, such as the viewpoint of a stranger, you might be more inclined to be interested in this book. By reading it, you might discover something about yourself that you did not know. Sometimes, strangers can know us better than we know ourselves. And from there, the interest comes.

So, if we have found somewhat of an answer to the definition of interesting, what is the definition of boring? How does one describe this? Dictionary definitions describe this word as a lack of stimulation, but it must go beyond that. Can boring be something that does not relate to the interpreter of a work? I would like to think that there is no artwork that is not boring to some interpreter. This may sound pessimistic, but I do not intend it to be. In fact, I want it to be just the opposite. This is really a liberating statement for all artists because it throws away the idea that an artist must work to make their work “interesting”. If the work is interesting, it is. If not, it is not. Personally, I can’t stand a work that sells out in an attempt to get more fans. If the artist is not interested in his or her own work, it will show. If the same artist is interested in his or her own work, it will show. For all artists out there, focus on yourself and what you want to do with your work and the rest will come. An artist who cares can offer great results. On the other hand, an artist who just goes through the motions is, well, just boring.


Jumbled Writer


3 Responses to What Makes Boring Art Boring?

  1. Interesting (some humour inserted here) concept of the words interesting and boring. I would think some people might be interested in something they didn’t understand because they wanted to understand and were therefore interested in the subject. What do you think?
    I so agree with being yourself and writing what is interesting to you. Part of being an individual to me is our differences. No one really knows what will catch someone’s interest and the biggest part of success might be ‘luck’.
    Do you believe in luck?
    I also agree that if you just go through the motions you stand a large chance of being boring.
    I enjoyed your article.

    • Dear Mary,
      I think that there might be something like luck in this world, but it shouldn’t be something that people depend upon to reach success. I believe more in hard work than luck.
      Yes, I think that people who want to learn something will propel more interest and motivation in learning. However, I wonder if there is something tied to the reason why people are interested in what they are interested in. Maybe it is a deeper reason that they might not even be aware of.


      • Yes, you’re probably right. Wouldn’t it be great to discover that was true and how to bring that to the surface? A very intriguing thought. I wonder why different people are interested in different things and ‘bored’ with other things that others are interested in. We sure are a complex species.

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