Can you relate to the following statement? I get my best ideas and solve many of my problems when I’m doing something banal or repetitive.
I’ll be busy doing something mindless, when boom! I start to daydream, or my mind takes off on a tangent. Before you know it, I’m rushing up the stairs to record a story idea, or scribbling as fast as I can into a notebook, as I did last week when I was on jury duty, waiting for the jury constable to take us into court.
I have an active daydreaming life. I read somewhere that some people don’t daydream. I was shocked, because I assumed everyone did. My airport is busy. Flights of fancy depart frequently. I can’t imagine life any other way. No daydreams? To me, that’s one step away from death.
I believe all my daydreams and ideas come from my subconscious mind. Flights of fancy are grounded when my conscious mind is active. There’s just too much noise or stress or analytical thinking going on for any planes to get off the ground. The moment I switch to something that doesn’t require any brain power, flights are cleared for take off.
I get my best ideas, solve problems I’m wrestling with, or suddenly find myself living another life, when I’m doing the following:
- Washing the dishes
- Taking a shower. I’ll wake up with a story problem nagging at me and solve it in the shower (and I take quick showers)
- Travelling on the bus, the subway, or in a car’s passenger seat
- Grocery shopping
- Watching TV. I’m not suggesting that watching a show doesn’t engage the mind. I love my TV shows. But sometimes I tune out because something that happened on the show or broadcast causes my mind to run off in its own direction and create its own story. Watching the news is particularly good for this
- Scooping cat boxes. Some brilliant ideas have come to me while I’m deftly dropping shit into a plastic bag. Maybe dog walkers can say the same
- Sitting in a waiting room or waiting in line
- Listening to music
- Gaming. It definitely engages my mind, but there are times when I’m playing on automatic (shooters are good for this, but so is running from one area to another in an RPG)
Trying to force lightning to strike doesn’t work for me. I need to do something that doesn’t require my brain to fire on all cylinders. I’ll often think, “Put that (story) problem aside for now. It’ll work itself out next time I do the dishes, go for a walk, or stroll the cereal aisle.”
How about you? What gets your planes hurtling down the runway and soaring into the sky?