Added On: Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dont be Boring

One of the best books on writing I've ever read is Screenwriting by Richard Walter. He gives a lot of great advice on how to write movie scripts, but much of what he says applies to any sort of writing. There is one line in it that changed the way I write forever. Mr Walter simply says the cardinal rule in writing is "Don't be boring".

Too many people when they write things are self-obsessed, pretentious and trying too hard to impress. That's why so many art-house films are boring - they don't respect their audience. The film-makers are too busy trying to show the world how deep and thoughtful they are, but instead they simply end up being boring.

And the don't be boring lesson applies outside the area of writing as well. It's a good philosophy for life. Just by being able to say or do more interesting things than many of those around me, I've found it much easier to achieve success.

For example, when going for job interviews, I often try to offer some kind of insight into the process that others have missed. This isn't easy. Behind my one or two comments are years of hard work and research. Unfortunately becoming interesting often requires a lot of boring background work, but it's worth it.

In making friends, I've also found being interesting can give you a big boost. If people come away from a conversation thinking you're a remarkable person, they're much more likely to want to see you again.

Most people just obsess over the same old boring stuff - their mundane problems, television series, their appearance, and so on. These are things most people couldn't give a damn about. If you can instead be someone who talks about travel, philosophy, business, art and so on, you'll be much more interesting. Try to have something insightful to say on almost any topic, from the latest pop single to the meaning of life. You'll find that is a talent that will take you a long way.

The world is full of boring people. Make an effort to make sure you're not one of them.

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