Advice for Writers by Kristen Lippert-Martin, author of TABULA RASA

Writers: Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Boredom

By Kristen Lippert-Martin

Kristen Lippert-Martin

Kristen Lippert-Martin

You know, in the old days, the only things writers had to worry about was maybe starving to death or the slow decline of alcoholism. Maybe a nasty case of consumption or syphilis.

OK, and possibly being committed for demonic possession. I mean, we’re always hearing voices in our heads, right?

These days, however, the great enemy of creativity is a near-total lack of boredom in our lives.

Neil Gaiman, who I think we can all agree is a pretty creative guy, recently took a social media vacation precisely to let himself be BORED. Because boredom leads to daydreaming, to wondering.

Until I heard him talk about this, I hadn’t realized how fortunate I’d been as far as coping with distraction. This might sound strange coming from a woman with four children—believe me, I know all about near-constant distraction—but you know what I didn’t have when they were little?

A smart phone.

And do you know what I STILL don’t have?

A smart phone.

I mean, I have a cell phone, but that’s all I have. So when I take my three-year-old to the park or push him in the stroller while taking my other kids to school, I don’t surf or text or check my emails. I let my mind wander. I get some of my best ideas while I’m at the playground.

I went to Disney World last year for five days, and when it was time to come home, I realized that even in the short time I was there, I’d acclimated to being constantly entertained. It seriously took me a few days to readjust to a world where there was not something to see and do every single second.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being entertained! Entertainment is the best!

But I also recognize that I can’t really write at all when I’m surrounded by fun, enthralling stuff to do. I need my boredom. I purposely build it into my life when I’m trying to get something done, especially a first draft. I need those hollows in my life, when I have nothing to think about because after a while, it’s those hours and days of null that cause my brain to get itchy to create.

Often when I’m walking down the street or on the subway, I realize I’m just about the only person not talking on the phone or looking at a phone. Instead I look around at … whatever. I people watch. I zone out. Folks used to do that all the time because they had no other choice. Now we have to force ourselves to not get sucked into distractions.

If you want to write, I encourage you to treasure your boredom. Protect it. You need it to work for you. Boredom is the fertile earth necessary for ideas to grow and it’s an ever-diminishing natural resource.

Of course, you should totally watch out for demonic possession, too. I hear that can be a real bummer.


About Tabula Rasa

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.

Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction?

The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she’ll need the help of the teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that’s blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why . . .

“This is a snap-the-whip story, dark and fast. The sparks of humor in the voice won me over. Bottom line: I think the cocktail of suspense and believable smart-assery adds up to an addictive dose of reader appeal.”—Blythe Woolston, author of the William C. Morris Award winner The Freak Observer

 “A very entertaining game for thriller fans . . . . Both Sarah and Pierce are layered and appealing characters who don’t get too caught up in their own drama—the mayhem around them is excitement enough.”—Publishers Weekly

About Kristen Lippert-Martin

Kristen Lippert-Martin has an MFA from Columbia University. She’s worked at Time, the world-renowned Brookings Institution, and even had a stint as a stand-up comic before turning to writing full-time. She was awarded the SCBWI’s Work-in-Progress grant in 2010. She can be found online at



Don’t Miss the Rest of the TABULA RASA Blog Tour!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Dream within A Dream

Review and Giveaway

Jump Into Books

Guest post and giveaway

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Read Now, Sleep Later

Q&A and giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rockin Book Reviews

Review and giveaway

Adventures in YA Publishing

One question round-up and giveaway

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Children’s Book Review

Guest post and giveaway

Live to Read

Review and giveaway

Pamela Thompson’s Blog

Review and giveaways

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Bookish Escape

Review and giveaway

Bookaholics Anonymous Online

Guest post and giveaway

Friday, September 26, 2014

Not Yet Read

Guest post and giveaway

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adventures in YA Publishing

One question round-up

Larkin’s Book Bloggers

Q&A and giveaway

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Best Books Ever

Review and giveaway

Pinky’s Favorite Reads

Q&A and giveaway

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Book Cellar

Q&A and giveaway

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Addicted Readers

Guest post and giveaway



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