Staring Out The Window Is Good For Freelance Writers

in Getting Started & Getting It Done,Musings

writers need time staring out the windowDo you sometimes find yourself staring out the window?

Do you feel guilty when you do so, thinking you should be doing something, well, more useful?

Is there someone in your life who hrumphs with disapproval when they catch you musing in such a manner?

Think on this:

Albert Eisenstein apparently did some of his best work while daydreaming as he looked out a window, even for hours. While I don’t expect to exhibit his kind of genius, I am reassured.

I’ve also heard that studies about children reveal the ones who get time to just stare out a window, at least metaphorically, tend to learn better and test smarter than those who don’t.

I remembered hearing this years ago these things this  morning when I realized I was feeling pressured. I’m considering making some changes in the way I work or what I work on or… and I started feeling frantic and like I didn’t have enough time.

I do. I actually have exactly as much time as you do, no more and no less.

It dawned on me that what I’m missing right now is spaciousness around what I’m doing. I’m not getting enough time staring out that window.

That time that looks like wasted time to someone watching me, or that I can label wasted when I’m hugely in doing mode isn’t.

It’s actually an integral part of the creative process. That is, as long as I’m actually daydreaming and not just zoning out in boredom or other escapism. And you and I  do know the difference.

I’m not sure why daydreaming seems to fuel the imagination. WebMD in an article called Why Does Daydreaming Get Such a Bad Rap? suggests that daydreaming is like meditation and gives the mind a break.

For me, meditation is quite different than daydreaming. Meditation is a concentrated effort to be aware of each present moment, and to do real self-examination. Daydreaming is something else.

Wonderquest has an article titled Daydreaming — goofing off, or what? They explore a few of the theories about why we daydream but fail to come to any certain conclusions.

Which is just fine with me. I’ve learned I don’t need to know exactly how or why something happens. I know I benefit from daydreaming and so does my writing and my writing business.

I’ve got a great window to stare out of and I’m going to delight in some time this week doing just that.

How do you fuel your imagination and productivity?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan January 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm

First of all I would like to say terrific blog!

I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was interested to find out how you center yourself and
clear your mind before writing. I have had difficulty
clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out
there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it
just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying
to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!
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annew January 25, 2013 at 7:31 am

Great question Ryan – I’ll answer today or Monday as a blog post.

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Pinar Tarhan November 11, 2011 at 11:18 am

I don’t really stare out of the window, but I used to tune out a lot, especially in school. Even today, if I’m in a place where I don’t like to be, I just tune out and retreat to inside of my head. But of course I make sure I have a way of checking in if I need to come back to the earth…:) This resulted in some really fun and good pages of writing for me.
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Allan Douglas November 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

Good point. At this time of year things always get really busy for me, assignments pile up ( a good thing), my reading list stretches out to the horizon, and there are so many “holiday” things to attend to that I feel really guilty if my brain is not hunkered down in production mode. This is probably one reason I feel “stressed”. When things ease up I will gain take the time to put my feet up, let my mind off its leash and allow it to wander through some possibilities. Then my writing will return to the more creative end of things.
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Anne November 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Love the image of a mind of its leash.

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Helenee November 11, 2011 at 3:06 am

I like the fact that you are distinguishing between meditation and daydreaming – they sure are two completely different things.

Just think about this: Writers usually like cats. A cat spends a good deal of her day doing – well, I don’t know what exactly, but then who knows what goes behind a cat’s green eyes, when she half-dozes staring through a window or into a fireplace…

I like taking walks. I don’t just drag one foot behind the other, I am a quick pacer. This makes the energy flow and I always get back with new ideas and new perspectives on the pieces I am actually writing.

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Anne November 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Nicely said. And I don’t know what goes on with cats either, although sometimes I pretend I do.

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Red Tash November 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Well, thank God for that, because I have had a habit of staring out the window all my life. It’s why I hated school so much, to be honest. It just tuned me out, and I always wished I could escape to a fantasy land. Is it any wonder I grew up to write fantasy?

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Cathy Miller November 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

My training walks are great fuel for my imagination and productivity – to the point that I am having minor panic attacks thinking about the time when the weather will change and it will be too cold to walk outside. Sure, there’s treadmills, but nowhere near the same thing. I need my cheering section of geese, cows, goats, horses and even the barking dogs. And the beautiful scenery.

I have a great view out my office window, which helps, but I love my training walks.
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Anne November 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Cathy, I suspect there’s even research showing the connection between movement and creativity. Maybe not full out exercise, but the kind of walking you do is about perfect I would think.

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Jacob November 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

This makes me feel better about myself, since I’ve always been a big daydreamer. I also talk to myself often. I don’t think this means I’m crazy (at least I hope not); I think it’s just my way of processing ideas and putting them together. Also, the more I read, the better my creative juices flow.
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Anne November 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Keep on daydreaming Jacob… at least some of the time.

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