Abandon social media and get bored for inspiration

Neil Gaiman tried a novel New Year's resolution last year: he took a four-month hiatus from social media to rediscover the joys of getting bored. It wasn't a decision the feted writer made lightly; on Twitter alone his 2.3 million followers read his daily posts with insatiable zeal.

"The biggest problem with Twitter is that I'd be in a taxi and I'd be on Twitter and it would keep me interested. I realised I wasn't getting bored enough and [that I needed to get bored] to start plotting things and coming up with ideas." The spell provided time to go for walks, talk to his wife, singer Amanda Palmer, and just "breathe out". Speaking from Boston this New Year's Eve, he quips of warning his fans of a repeat exercise: "Nothing's wrong, I'm just going off to be bored", he says, laughing.

Later this month, the award-winning author of comic book series The Sandman, and novels Stardust, Coraline, American Gods and The Graveyard Book, returns to Australia to perform at Melbourne's Athenaeum Theatre, as well as in Sydney and Hobart. "My Melburnian fans grumble that whenever I'm in town I'm always 'in conversation', which they don't really complain about but this time I thought I'd do something fun." And so he'll revisit a tale first performed at the Sydney Opera House in 2010: The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains.

The story of a dwarf and his guide who embark on a journey to find a cave filled with treasure, it was inspired by a Scottish legend Gaiman found in a book by Otta F. Swire. It appealed from the first line: "There's a cave in the black Cuilin mountains where there is gold for the having. You can go in, nothing will stop you, but it will make you a little bit evil. It will eat your soul every time you do it."..more