How daydreaming is just as important as writing

Maybe it all started since I began commuting for an hour to school when I was six. When long rides forced me to shift my focus to this delicious hazy aether of dreams.

It was cotton candy. That’s the best way to describe it; looking back to those long moments of imaginative child-like thoughts, haven of goodness and sweet thoughts.

Some daydreams are influential to my life, some not. Some sound brilliant enough to be shared, some are shameful. But most daydreams, when triggered by a good amount of passion, gives a lasting fleeting feeling. Like sweets and chocolates.

More often than not, they ripple to a desire for action. They demand to be appreciated and responded. And I do believe that this sort of unconscious processing is loud and clear in our head for a reason.

This bright and inspirational daydreaming is what Jerome L. Singer called as productive constructive daydream, which is “a process fairly free of psychological conflict, in which playful, vivid, wishful imagery drives creative thought.”

Without doubt, daydreaming has been a favorite thing for some of the biggest scientists and the biggest artists. Daydreaming has been linked to creativity and was seen as a thought-provoking and thought-awakening activity that taps into your unconscious mind and brings it to the surface. From Freud to Jack Kerouac, daydreaming was used as a space to synthesize information and ideas with “no effort of a direct nature”.

Of course, don’t confuse daydreaming with getting distracted. But for some of us that are so prone to daydreaming, it might be a good time to start creating a proper space for it flourish.

Now, I’m one of those people who daydream too much to the point where people actually took notice. Instead of pulling all of my thoughts back into focus, I’m trying to device a system that will make my daydream session more productive.

I noticed that my thoughts tend to run wild in the morning after a good night’s sleep, after the first cup of coffee, in the afternoon after work, around 10–12pm, and whenever I’m on the road.

For months now, I’ve always put my phone on Airplane mode starting around 11pm until just before I go to work (almost every day at least!). This is my Setting to write, the main crucial thing I could not miss; to put my phone on airplane mode. If Stephen King has his own room as a writer, I have this offline mode that frees me from the biggest distractions.

Doing this everyday, I guess, has mentally told my mind to not scavenging for dopamine. So whenever I’m on airplane mode, I’m always more prepared to write.

But even though I don’t have any plans to write, I’m more focused with my own thoughts and able to explore it deeper.

I go by my own things; take a shower, sweep the floor, cook, and whenever an interesting thought came visit, I let it roam and evolve a bit, then write it down, briefly, quickly, without any interruptions, on my Writing App.

Many of these fleeting thoughts hibernate on my phone, untouched. But that’s okay. Because the act of recording itself, at least to me, is a way to actively respond and show love to your subconscious thought.

Another thing I’d love to do more is note-taking. Contrary to the daydream first-take note second approach above, this one is take-note first-daydream second.

I was at a humble arts gallery and also home of an artist when I decided to open my notes while some musicians casually jamming. Initially, my intention visiting the gallery was to interview the artist. But I lost the gut so I decided to scribble some notes.

I’ve always underestimated observation and taking notes, never seeing the real value of it, and only see it as a passive interaction with your surrounding. Thus, I rarely observe and record.

But the atmosphere was too nice to miss. And I was lucky to have plenty of interesting things to jot down.

Gradually, the thoughts start to develop on a proper path. I guess the act of taking notes; to be still and mentally quiet, clears the road and puts the right elements on the ground. Instead of running around, the daydream actually starts somewhere proper and right.

The challenge is, of course, to decide which one is good enough to be recorded and which one is not. However, same thing with writing, only time will tell, and all we need to do is to get started and going. There’s an art to observing, but it comes with practice and patience.

Lastly, I agree that we should write every day in any form, but I have also experienced moments where I’ve written multiple drafts and still feeling stagnant. When I understand or am passionate about the subject, there’s a way out. But when the idea is solely based on curiosity, I had troubles connecting the dots.

I connect dots, make a line, dislike the prospect, and then start over. Connect dots, make another line, dislike the prospect, and then start over. Eventually, it’s just a jumbled mess, an unrecognized pattern, a body of conflicting ideas, a heavy burden.

I figured that when I’m writing and rewriting too much, that’s a bad sign. There’s either an idea wish to be born prematurely or an ego wanting to be fed.

(Of course, I could be doing this whole writing thing the wrong way! Who knows!)

But our unconscious thoughts are perhaps more powerful than we think. It’s flexible, it’s free, it’s multi-form, it’s instinctive, it knows us inside-out, it connects the past, present, and the future.

So the secret might be to feed both worlds properly. That way, there’s an honest dance between the depth of ourselves and this spacious and busy world.

Now, time to pause.

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