“She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world.” -Joanne Harris
As a writer, I’m obsessed with daydreaming. I imagine possible situations, stories, the future, everything. I wonder, what role does daydreaming play in our lives?
Daydreaming and Work
Daydreaming at work can be a good thing. For one, it’s good to mentally leave your work. It’s like hitting the refresh button on your mind’s browser. Balancing intense focus with “roaming in thought,” as Walt Whitman would say, is healthy.
Time spent ‘pre-thinking,’ whether it’s imagining what the final product will look like, or wondering how it will be perceived, is always time well spent. Creative breakthroughs at work are often discovered during daydreams.
Daydreaming about future events also helps you feel prepared and can actually help you perform better (we have our prefrontal cortex to thank).
Daydreaming can be a healthy escape from everything around you that is familiar- an opportunity to forget yourself. It can also be entirely about you. I daydream about who I will be in the future, which motivates me to move forward with my goals. On the flip side, getting lost in thought can also lead to unhealthy rumination.
Daydreaming can lead you to a mind full of doubt. You may wonder, ‘Am I accomplishing enough?’ Or, ‘Will I be able to fulfill my goals?’
If doubts are plaguing you, one solution is to consciously put your doubts on ‘mute.’ I practiced this as I began writing my novel. It turns out- you can run at your goals faster and more freely without the weight of worrying what will happen.
I also daydreamed about a future version of myself who had completed a novel. I really wanted to be that person, so I made it happen and I’m proud of that. Now, I imagine myself in a bookstore, picking up a book with my name on the cover. Daydreaming about this goal makes working towards it more enjoyable.
If you ever fall short of your goals, or are doubting your ability, remember to give yourself credit for trying- being in the game and failing is better than never stepping on the court. And be proud that you challenged yourself to the point where failure became an option.
Daydreaming is the place you go in your head where nothing and no one is near you. It’s perfectly yours. I let myself think about whatever I want. It can be fantasy; it can be dark. As a writer and as a human, that’s where the most interesting things happen.
I want to be successful because I indulge. For instance, I indulge in working on projects that inspire me, which has led me to a job that I really enjoy. Of course, in order to be successful you have to have grit. You sit your ass in a chair and accomplish something. You need the right balance of inspiration (yay daydreaming!) and determination.
Spending time lost in reverie is not a bad thing. For me, my daydreams became key scenes in my novel. For others, a daydream could spark an idea that becomes a business. Ultimately, your sense of self is constructed from your imagination. So let yourself get lost in your head, you never know what you will uncover.
Kasia is a content marketer at Rentalutions, a start-up located in Chicago. She is the author of MT, a novel for which she is currently seeking literary representation. She can be contacted at email@example.com.