Teachers used to tell children off for daydreaming. Some still do. I positively encourage it. Not the passive, glazey-eyed staring into space of boredom but the playful, highly creative state of daydreaming which allows pupils to get lost in their imaginations and to come up with the most wonderful ideas.
Modern life doesn’t allow us much time to daydream. The constant interruptions from emails, social media, background noise, the busyness and rush and treadmill like nature of many of our jobs, leaves us too tired and distracted to be creative. I’m one of the world’s doers. I find it hard to rest – to give myself the permission to sit and think. And yet, all the research shows that to be creative, we need daydreaming time, thinking time, time for our imaginations to tap into our best ideas.
Psychologists are beginning to recognise the power of what they call, ‘the wandering mind.’ An article by Psychology Today, argues that mind wandering is vital to problem-solving and that the part of our brain responsible for day-dreaming is closely connected to the logical, finding solutions part. Interestingly, this is now begin connected not only to artistic professions but also to the corporate world. Creative workers, workers who daydream, are, it seems, vital to a thriving workplace.
As for me, I know that the knotty bits in my plot come loose, my characters take shape, new ideas flow in, when my mind is free to wander. That often happens when I’m walking.
The notion of writing and daydreaming was brought to my attention in an interview with the novelist, Sarah Winman on Radio 4’s Front Row. She spoke about the challenges of writing her second novel and of how a long period of daydreaming is vital to the creation of her stories and characters:
I need a little daydream time so that things come together.
So, whether you are spending the day writing or painting or taking photos – or whether you are doing your 9-5 job, allow your mind to wander, daydream a little, and allow those wonderful connections to be be made.