David B. Clear


  • Overview for an overview of all my stories.
  • Oh So Clear for my bi-weekly essays on writing.
  • I Wanna Know for fun explainers and curiosities.
  • My Comics if all you care about are silly drawings and laughs.
  • My Newsletter to get notified by email whenever I publish a new story.

Featured comic:


How boredom is both your nemesis and best ally

Image for post
Image for post
Image by the author (CC BY-SA 4.0)

As a writer, you may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, happy, sad, angry, disgusted, amused, horrified, confused, horny, jealous, ashamed, or be in any other emotional state. That’s all okay. None of these emotions needs to be a hurdle to writing something people will want to read.

But there’s one emotion you should absolutely keep a watchful eye on: boredom. It’s not that this emotion is inherently bad. It’s just that there’s a right and a wrong time for it.

When boredom is your foe

Nothing makes writing as unappealing as being boring. Readers want to feel something other than drowsiness when they’re gazing at your words. …

It’s not just because they get a kick out of it

Image for post
Image for post
Image by the author. Based on a photo by Srecko Skrobic on Unsplash.

I have a dog and he does this weird thing. He takes a dump and then scrapes the ground with his hind legs, throwing dirt in my face. If I was a farmer, I might appreciate this behavior. I could plant some of the smaller root vegetables in the furrowed ground and would even have a steaming pile of manure right at hand.

But since I don’t grow potatoes, I don’t appreciate the dirt in my mouth. It’s a nuisance and I don’t see any purpose behind it. And yet, there must be one. …

And is it getting saltier over time?

Image for post
Image for post
Image by the author. Based on a photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash.

Growing up on an island, I’ve swallowed my fair share of seawater. And yuck, is it salty! When I later learned that urine is also salty, I became horrified and started looking at the bathing tourists with suspicion. Are they the source of that briny taste?

But since seawater made me gag enough already, I didn’t want to further inquire, lest my suspicion be confirmed. Eventually, however, my curiosity won out and I looked it up. Most online sources gave me this explanation:

Rainwater is slightly acidic and so when it falls on land, it slowly erodes rocks. This frees minerals from the rocks, which are then transported by streams and rivers to the ocean where, over millions of years, they accumulate, making the sea salty. …


David B. Clear

Science fan, cartoonist, PhD, eukaryote. Doesn't eat cats, dogs, nor other animals. https://clearwriting.substack.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store