Helen Poulakou, who blogs at Inspiration Exists, Studying Grammar on a Greek Island, and Words and find time to participate our forum at AboutWritingSquared.com pointed me to a wonderful resource called How Mind-Wandering and “Positive Constructive Daydreaming” Enhance Our Creativity and Social Skills.
I love it because it scientifically justifies my daydreaming and proves my hunch that writers need serious daydreaming time to stay creative. It names it “Positive Constructive Daydreaming!”
One of the advantages of freelancing is there’s no boss but myself to hrumph at me when I’m daydreaming.
Problems caused by daydreaming
There are, of course, at least a couple of problems when it comes to daydreaming.
The first might be that those around you don’t recognize you’re engaged in something constructive. I know that when someone sees me gazing out the window or staring into space they tend I’m not busy and it’s totally okay to interrupt me. I’ve been known to wear a special hat to signal I’m not available.
Another problem is finding the time. It’s so easy to let ourselves get overloaded with work that, when coupled with the rest of our lives leaves literally no time for daydreaming.
How to get the daydreaming in
Here are 9 ways you might get some daydreaming in:
Turn off the television – I haven’t had one for years and when I’m in a hotel, 10 minutes of clicking around reminds me why.
Turn off the radio – even the best classical music takes some daydreaming space in your mind.
Turn off the computers – desktop, laptop, and/or tablet – with services like Netflix and Hulu, I can get caught up in TV or movies that just let me spend time to no purpose.
Turn off the smart phone – I ask myself if there’s anything going on in my life that being available by phone will mean I can make it better.
Take a train trip – I get to spend a couple of hours on Amtrak every month or so when I take the train rather than drive to see my youngest grand kids. It’s less than 100 miles, and an hour and a half by car, assuming Interstate 5 doesn’t’ get jammed up – but it often does and I take the train to avoid that possibility and to enjoy the ride along the coast.
Take a bus – maybe not to do grocery shopping, although that’s certainly a possibility. Time on the bus is a great time to daydream and to pick up story ideas.
Take a walk – or better yet, a stroll – walking is great exercise, strolling is great for daydreaming. When you stroll it’s totally okay to stop and sit at a friendly park bench, or even on a wall and just dream on.
Sit on your front stoop - yes, right there by your front door if it’s outside, and I suppose you could even do this inside. Watch what’s going on in your neighborhood with no agenda – perfect daydreaming time.
Sit on a park bench – again, with no agenda other than to be there and see what your mind conjures up.
Another trick to creating daydreaming space is not to be too rigid about it. Be flexible about when you’ll get back to work. Accept interruptions – who knows what may come of them. Be gentle with yourself and others – daydreaming is supposed to relax you and help you open your mind to the unexpected, not add more stress to your life or a concern you’re not doing it right.
There is no right or wrong way to daydream, no rules, nothing to get. You may not even notice that you’re more creative after you’ve spent some time daydreaming – but you will be, just when you least expected it.
Do you make time for daydreaming? Tell us about it.
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