Hurray for daydreaming! It’s the thing you loved to do in school, but what you were most likely to get punished for. Well now there’s legitimate reason to zone off when bored.
Yes, according to author Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine: How Creativity Works, it’s those moments when you’re dazing out the window that your getting the most work done. Perhaps all of us writers knew this intuitively. But Lehrer’s book provides actual research to back that statement up. In it, he describes the work of psychologist Jonathan Schooler and his research on daydreams and their benefits.
And what did Schooler find?
“His [Jonathan Schooler’s] lab has demonstrated that people who consistently engage in more daydreaming score significantly higher on measures of creativity.”
So how do you reap the best benefits of daydreaming?
The process is two-fold. First you need to daydream, of course. And then you need to be aware of the fact that you’re doing it. People who can interrupt their thoughts when they’ve hit a solution to a problem are the ones that are going to benefit from creative insight.
How to Use Daydreaming to Write Better
Schooler increases the chances of creative insight in his own life by prioritizing mind-wandering activities like hiking. And you should too.
It may feel like getting away from your computer is the worst possible thing you can do when you’re stuck on what to write next, but it could do wonders for your writing. The more you can leave the actual problem where it is and zoom in on something else, the more likely you’ll be able to solve that debilitating blockage.
It’s not only a great excuse to take a break, but it’s a smart one too!