The Art of Daydreaming

Six impossible things

Have we lost the art of daydreaming? I ask myself this as I make my way through my daily commute. I see people checking their smart phones on the way to the subway, standing in the elevator, or waiting for their next bus. There’s very little talk happening on these phones; no one is speaking to one another. With each ping, our brain fires, turning us all into Pavlovs who crave that next notification from Facebook or Twitter.

Sad young woman and a rain drops

I remember when my commute included time for daydreaming. It seems like so long ago. I’d listen to my music, with my head resting against the window pane of the bus and watch the landscape zip past. The music allowed my mind to wander and before the end of the commute, I’d be imagining a story that mirrored the mood of the music or the lyrics. This was a time of rejuvenation and recharging. I’d look forward to this down time after a long day at work. It was a way to clear my head, to transition between work and home with possibly a bit of time-travel kicked in for good measure.

Today, I use my commute to multitask, checking emails and catching up with news feeds. It’s exhausting. I’m sure I’m not alone. Before smart phones, we had down time and time to be bored. Today, there isn’t a moment when we aren’t plugged in. How many people use their smart phone as an alarm? How many reach over at odd times in the night to check on missed notifications? I’ve turned off social media notifications to disable my Pavlov response, but it doesn’t help. I’m still darting in probably more frequently to check notifications. It’s like putting yourself on a carb-free diet only to binge on carbs more than ever before.

Synergies of MusicI feel that I’ve lost access to my creativity by not unplugging, by not allowing myself time to daydream. Music is my gateway between the hard world of here and the beguiling land of story. I write to music. With the right soundtrack, I can tap into an emotional moment and even conjure a vivid scene. But for this faerie engine to work, you need to lull that active part of your mind. Staring out through a glass as the world slips by is meditative. All those pings and dings breaks the trance.

But I am determined to make a change–to reclaim daydreaming, even in little chunks. I’ll start with my morning commute. Instead of bringing my laptop, I’ll bring a notebook. I’ll give myself permission to write, or not, and if I choose to write, I can either do it in the notebook or in my mind. Either way, I will use that time for daydream.

Virtual Abstract Landscape


  1. It was Edgar Allan Poe who said,”Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night”. True. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that. I hadn’t heard that one. Thanks!


  2. Thought-provoking. I daydream a lot when I’m out walking, but that’s because I make an active choice not to look at my phone while I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find walking is excellent for the creative juices. I always seem to find solutions to plot problems that way.


  3. Walking my dog in the park is a daily escape into mindfulness … the wind in my hair, the smells, the bird songs, the cut grass, the sound of the leaves, splashing through puddles and dodging dog poop. No ear pods, no cell phone, no nothing. Just like in the olden days. Silence is golden. And when I get home, to my surprise all sorts of things are straightened out in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing what can get sorted after a good, long walk.


  4. Stephanie Ling

    Showers are that escape for me. Probably wasteful of resources, but a fabulous creative boost! Just today in fact I conjured an entirely new scene which was just the bridge I needed for a gap in plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand the calming influence of running water. I’m one of those people who needs to write ideas down as they pop into my head and being in a shower when the inspiration hits would be problematic for me.


      1. Stephanie Ling

        Ha! Yes, that can be a problem.. Fortunately as the layout of the scene unfolded and solidified for me, I kept rehearsing the outline over and over until I had it down. As soon as I got out of the shower I went right to the computer and wrote down the outline. It’s worse for me if I am out taking the dog for a walk, because it takes longer to get back to my keyboard! Coloring his another method I use to allow my head to daydream. I love the premise of this article . Daydreaming is an essential part of writing that is a lot less tangible and more difficult to explain to people about the writing process.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What I find that I must stop and record are snatches of dialogue. When the characters start talking, if I don’t write down what they say in that moment, I can’t get it right. I walk, stop, madly jot down in a notebook then continue walking. The voices we hear are another thing that is hard to explain to non-writers 🙂


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