Saturday, October 25, 2008

More thoughts on daydreaming

by Suw on October 25, 2008

I had a conversation on Twitter this morning that segued nicely from my video last night about daydreaming. I hope those that took part won’t mind me replicating some of their Tweets here:

dominiccampbell: Trying to remember what life was like before being online 24/7. I think it was nice.

Suw: @dominiccampbell it was nice. was talking to @sniffles last night about how all-consuming connectedness might be stiffling my writing

dominiccampbell: @suw so true. my reading of truly interesting thoughtful pieces and ability to write much in-depth and meaningful has definitely declined.

Suw: @dominiccampbell i’m wondering about how to recreate daydreaming time. perhaps turning the net off completely for a while each day?

dominiccampbell: @suw its why I swim so much. its the only place where my head gets the chance to meander. now just need waterproof pen and paper…

anniemole: @suw You don’t travel on the Tube a lot. I get some of my best thinking done on it, whenever I get a seat. Armpits aren’t too inspiring 😉

rachelclarke: @suw i do that. Close computer, tv/music on low for white noise, close eyes and think

Suw: @dominiccampbell i go to the gym, but tend to find myself watching TV there instead. :/ @anniemole bizarre that i would miss the tube, eh?

stephtara: @Suw I like going out for short walks without my mobile phone, and just stare at what’s around me — or lie down for a while and meditate

Suw: @rachelclarke that’s a good idea. @stephtara walks here not that nice. need to do my AT lying down exercises tho’, so should do that daily

bru: @Suw sounds like a plan. hard to commit to it though #daydreaming

Suw: @bru like “daily writing” plans, very hard to commit to. but i am supposed to lie down in a specific way for my back, so i can do it then.

vanderwal: @Suw I often step away from the compuer & turn on stereo & sit before it to unfocus

Sometimes I feel a bit like my life is the tail that wags the dog, and despite a number of attempts to take charge of wagging my own tail, life still seems to be something that happens at me. Partly this is project proliferation. There are so many exciting and interesting ideas out there in the world, and I just can’t resist saying yes to them. And, of course, there’s the whole “focusing on getting some work in” thing, which does rather tend to preoccupy.

But my conversation with Mr Neil last night, and the exchange above in Twitter, made me think about is how to find daydreaming time in my life. I’m not about to start suddenly commuting, but I remember recently talking to someone (I forget who) who also works from home and starts the work day with a walk around the block and ends it with same.

That’s a valuable ritual that demarcates work time from leisure time. It would also provide an opportunity for my mind to zone out a bit. The drawback is that where I live isn’t particularly lovely to walk through and we’re coming in to winter and I really can’t imagine myself having the desire to go out in the cold rain if I don’t absolutely have to.

A more likely possibility is to do the one exercise that my Alexander Technique teacher gave me, which is to lie down on the floor, knees crooked, head resting on a book (pillow verboten, apparently), for 20 minutes. It’s not supposed to be a mediation, it’s about allowing my body to release tension. Sounds to me like a good opportunity for me to daydream a bit, if I can mange to keep my mind focused on fiction, rather than planning emails, solving work problems or worrying about the economy.

Hopefully this will then brew up a bit of passion and fire. The big problem I have with writing schedules is that they are rather putting the cart before the horse. If I have a story in my head then it will force me to write, and I will find the time because the story won’t let me get away with not expressing it. Sitting down at a prescribed time to write without a story already in mind just emphasises the lack, and results in self-doubt.

I had a great time walking up Offa’s Dyke, because the stories sprang to mind very easily. I feel frustrated that I haven’t had the time since then to really work on them. That’s something I need to change, and I’m going to focus on that over the next few weeks. I have a couple of short stories that I want to write, and I am going to get at least one done and up on this site before the end of November.

I was thinking about NaNoWriMo, but if I’m honest, I don’t have the wherewithall right now to commit to writing a couple of thousand words a day, and it would be pretty awful to try and fail. Instead, I’m going to commit to working on one short story over the next four weeks, currently entitled The Revenge of the Books of Hay.

(And yes, I will look after my wrists whilst I write! I’m not sure dictation will work – I just find that I think through my fingers much better. I’ll just have to cut out something else instead.)

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