Daydreaming is held in some contempt in society. After all, by staring into space and just thinking, you look remarkably like you’re just goofing off, and goofing off is frowned upon. You’re not being productive! You’re lazy!
Daydreaming is an essential part of being a writer. That other people don’t get this is their problem, and one we have to learn to ignore. How are we to come up with great story ideas if we can sit there and think. Sometimes we get great ideas we can play with, and other times we have nothing come, but that doesn’t mean either way we spend our time is any less meaningful than the other. When I’m daydreaming, I never know when that next idea will assert itself, so I never know if five more minutes staring into space will be wasted time or the most productive time of the day.
When we’re kids, teachers, parents, and other assorted “grownups” discourage us from daydreaming. Get to your math homework! they’ll yell. Or You’ve got piano lessons! Most adults seem compelled to shut down daydreaming whenever they encounter it, as if its very existence is an affront to the established order.
However, we have to daydream. It’s not lazy – it’s creative. I daydream on walks with my dogs, while I’m sitting down to dinner, or whenever I need a break from my boss(I look interested in what he’s saying, but my mind is fighting battles through some far off nebula). This is how I develop my stories.
So don’t let anyone tell you not to daydream. Sure, there are times to not engage in it – during the conduct of open heart surgery is probably not the best time – but it’s not the wasted enterprise some would have us believe. In fact, it’s as much a part of being a writing as, you know, actual writing.