Daydreams are probably the easiest (and cheapest) way to pass the time.
Stuck in a waiting room? Sure, you could check Facebook or see if there are any Pokemon around. Or you could let your mind wander to somewhere far more exciting!
And as writers, we should be taking advantage of daydreams for two pretty awesome reasons. Read on to find out what they are…
Bit of background to this blog series first.
I saw an interesting tweet two days ago – the image was the one above. A site called Pigeonhole was offering a serialised version of 52 Dates for Writers by Claire Wingfield. I’d missed out on the free version, but I could get all twelve instalments for just 59p.
I spend more than that on a single coffee.
The whole concept is 52 ideas for writing ‘dates’ to help get writers away from their desks. By shaking up your routine, you approach your writing differently, and so explore your creativity. I’m in!
So instalment one arrived in my inbox yesterday. Three dates came at once (sounds a bit like Tinder), but I chose date 2 – Daydream.
Why are daydreams important to writers?
Wingfield asks the writer to daydream about their work. You should visualise it as if it’s already a finished book. What will the cover look like? Hell, write a dedication. Imagine your first book signing.
(I’ve done two, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be)
It was funny that this came along when it did because I’d had a conversation with the awesome Sarah Brentyn about this on her blog. Turns out we both imagine our covers before the books are even finished!
Those daydreams make your book feel more tangible.
It’s not just a silly idea in your head any more if you can picture turning up at the premiere for the movie adaptation.
I totally want Stephen Amell to play Grey O’Donnell from my Guns of Retribution.
See? It’s fun!
Now, I started practicing mindfulness about six months ago, and it’s been brilliant for bringing a bit more zen into my life. But daydreams and mindfulness are not easy bedfellows.
Mindfulness requires you to be present in the moment, which is pretty much the opposite of daydreaming. But I’m trying to find a way to balance the two, so I can be zen and imaginative at the same time.
Daydreams can also help you write mantras.
Lots of creatives swear by mantras. Joanna Penn talks about them on her podcast, and how repeating them regularly can help to change your mindset.
Wingfield recommends you to think about what you’ve learned while writing. What keeps you going when all seems lost?
Ironically, I was daydreaming on the bus on the way home from work when my mantra came to me. I thought of the copywriting work I’m taking on, and all of the writing I do for my blog, or my novels.
I remembered being 11 years old and deciding I wanted to be a magazine journalist.
What’s a blogger, if not the 21st Century version?
So anyway. My mantra. I came up with a super simple on that sums up my feelings on the matter.
I’ve always written. I will always write.
But wait! There’s more…
Wingfield also advises you to think about the daydreams of your characters. Had you ever thought to do that? I certainly hadn’t.
And it’s almost so obvious it’s painful.
We’re always told to imagine the interior life of our characters. We should communicate that through their body language, spoken idiosyncrasies, or style of dress.
Characters should wear their hearts on their sleeves for readers to see.
What better way to explore that interior life than to poke our noses into their daydreams?!
So here’s what I want you to do.
Hey, I’m learning, so you should too.
Look at one of your characters. What do they daydream about? Where does their mind go when they’re not active? Or when they’re bored?
You never need to use any of this in your actual story (please, avoid dream sequences if you can – Kristen Lamb explains why here) but it’s an ace way of getting to know your character, and making them feel real.
Because if they’re real to you, they’re real to your reader!
Over to you! What do you daydream about, and what do your characters dream about? Let me know in the comments!
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