When I was a kid, daydreaming wasn’t exactly popular. I should know. I got in trouble for daydreaming a lot! Daydreaming in school was particularly frowned upon. Still, a kid can only listen for so long without her mind wandering – right? But then when the teacher sees your eyes glaze over, she pounces, knowing she has caught you in the act. She asks you to answer a question and of course you have no idea what question you are meant to answer. You were thinking about plans you had made with friends. It was always super embarrassing and the teacher, well, she looked like the cat that swallowed the canary.
In school, I daydreamed because I was bored. Most of the time material was not presented in an engaging manner and I suspect I wasn’t the only one daydreaming. Today, I use daydreaming to increase creativity and to live in the world of my characters. For me, daydreaming is any time I have temporarily left the real world and entered into my inner world. Writers, I think, are guilty of leaving the real world on a regular basis.
If you’d like your daydreaming to be more productive, here are some tips!
When to daydream
- When doing a mindless job. House work of any kind is the perfect opportunity, as is gardening and walking the dog.
- Last thing at night, before falling asleep. This is when I like to picture my characters where I last left them and see what happens next. Next, I usually fall asleep, so I’m not sure how effective it is for the writing process, but it does relax me to leave the real world worries and enter my fictional world.
- While listening to music. The emotion that music evokes often helps me to enter a different space. Creativity is inspired as my mind drifts into uncharted territory.
- While writing “stream-of-consciousness” pages. This is the perfect blend of focusing the brain enough to get the thoughts down and freeing the brain enough to produce new ideas or solve problems.
- When you are alone. People really hate trying to carry on a conversation with someone who is only physically present! And of course, it’s not wise if you are needing to focus, as in when you are driving or sitting in a class!
How to daydream
- Give yourself permission to wander inwardly during those moments when focus is not a requirement. It’s not a waste of time.
- Find a place where you will not be bothered by distractions. I love to sit in the park, away from other people, even sitting in my vehicle looking into the park on occasion if the weather isn’t cooperating. I can turn off my phone and there is very little chance that anyone I know will stroll by and want to stop and chat, which means I’m leaving the puppies at home for this trip!
- Shut the door on the real world. Put headphones on and listen to music (no lyrics), close your eyes, stare into the sky, or out your window. Sometimes raindrops slipping down the window can be mesmerizing enough to transport you to your imagination.
- Choose what you want to daydream about. Often I choose plot problems or characters to dream about in my fictional world, but that’s not the only time I daydream. Sometimes I visualize myself being successful at a particular event, or enjoying a relaxing day at the beach. We all have those times when dark clouds descend and casting a dark shadow on our day. When this happens, I use daydreaming to visualize happy events and to dwell on my favourite things. It helps me switch my focus from the negative to the positive.
- Brainstorm ideas for creating something. This could range from creative problem solving, to a craft idea, a story idea, a recipe, a television show. Your imagination is the limit!
Enjoy the moments so none are wasted!