Have you ever had one of those eureka moments? You know how it goes. You’re doing something mundane and a brilliant idea pops into your head.
This kind of thing happens to me all the time. Driving in the car during a trip. Taking a shower. Mowing the lawn.
I’m doing something mindless and my mind keeps creating on its own.
Creativity Can’t be Forced
Don’t get me wrong. Creativity can be nurtured, and needs to be, but that’s not the same thing as forcing it to produce.
Case in point, my latest novel idea is something that just popped into my head one day. I think the idea is brilliant and has real potential, but I honestly have no idea where the concept came from.
In contrast, I’ve got an entire notebook full of notes on another idea I’ve come up with, but it’s something I pretty much shoehorned together. The more I think about it, the less I like the concept, and the less potential I think the story has for success.
What’s the difference between the two? The good idea came into being after I was forced to spend quite a bit of idle time behind the wheel of the car. There was no planning, no scheduled brainstorming, but this idea sprang to mind almost fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. As I began to analyze how it came to pass, I realized a simple truth.
Writers need to give themselves permission to daydream. [Tweet this.]
Creativity Needs Space
So, how can we give ourselves space to daydream in today’s hectic world? I can’t answer that for you, but I can give you some ideas.
- Check to see if there’s junk you can clear from your schedule. It’s OK to not have something planned for every hour of every day. Put some margin back into your life.
- As contradictory as this sounds, build free time into your schedule. Schedule thirty minutes to an hour as often as possible to just sit and ponder. No agendas, just ponder. Consider building free time into your routine.
- Unplug from everything. Turn off the TV, the radio, the internet, all of it. Distractions kill dreaming.
- Take a walk or get some exercise. Do some yard work or other manual labor. Do something that doesn’t require critical or creative thinking.
No matter what you do, do something, or rather nothing.
Think of your creativity as a set of lungs. Lungs operate best with plentiful amounts of fresh air available. Lungs can’t function well or long locked up in a small, airtight room.
Your creativity needs space to breathe. You have to choose to quit stifling it and let it breathe deep.
What are your favorite tips for finding time to daydream? Please share in the comments.