By David Sharp
There's a lot of advice out there for writers on how to stay disciplined. No doubt, that's a vital component of getting the work done. If we don't train ourselves to sit down at that computer and put one word after another, we won't have anything to show for it. We must be consistent and diligent.
But that's for another blog post.
Today, I want to talk about the other side of writing. It's the invisible side. The part for which I often admonish myself. The part that looks an awful lot like wasting time. I'm talking about daydreaming.
Nothing is Worse Than Staring at a Blank Screen. But there's no rule that says you have to. Why not get out of that chair and burn some calories while you muse? (Or gain some calories if that works for you. Donuts can be very inspirational!) Roll the ideas around in your head and go back to the blank screen when you've got something to fill it. Your computer isn't going anywhere. And if it is, you've got other problems to deal with.
Wait. This Feels a Lot Like Procrastination. And that's the best part! Do you ever have to convince yourself to procrastinate? Never! But what if that procrastination is secretly productive? Think how much you could accomplish! And your brain doesn't ever have to know. Okay, but it could turn ugly if you don't pair it with some discipline. The discipline element hasn't vanished, you're just taking it on the road with you. And you really are going to get to the typing part. Just, you know, later.
|These cloud castles don't build themselves!|
You've got to get your hands dirty.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Where Do the Ideas Come From? Even the most successful authors don't know. They may give you some snarky answers, but there is no magic formula. Still, we do know some of the ingredients! And chief among them is curiosity. It's important to let your mind wander down some of those rabbit holes. Maybe it will bring you to a solution for your glaring plot hole. Or maybe it will just lead you to a new culinary experiment. A second ingredient is free association. Stories are frequently metaphorical. Allowing your mind to draw unlikely comparisons prepares you to create foreign experiences that are still relevant to your reader. A third ingredient is eggs. Eggs are in everything.
|Yes. This is what productivity looks like.|
In fact, I better cancel that meeting this afternoon.
So stop dilly-dallying. That daydreaming isn't going to happen on its own.
Get to work!
|Imagine the possibilities.|
Or for more reading, check into:
Seven Elements of Creativity
The Virtues of Daydreaming
How to Daydream