Daydreaming reveals creative & intellectual strength…

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Albert Einstein

 

Hey guys,

I found this interesting article and news item recently. I used to have a partner who was extremely critical and who micro managed me when we worked together. Amongst many things he didn’t understand me. When I taught at university in the Creative Industries we taught about creative people and how they operate differently to other people.

Creative people can be extremely creative for a few hours a day and then may need daydreaming time to allow this to be activated later on in the day. Or possibly the next day. If creative people are given space to be creative, they will be extremely productive for a few hours and then may need to not focus so much for the rest of the day. In doing this, though they produce very creative, innovative products, solutions or art.

However, recent studies have been examining daydreaming and its effect on us and its positive benefits. I thought it was worth sharing with everyone. In her article called “The 3 Scientific Benefits of Daydreaming” written last August 20, 2018, Annabel Blake who is a Researcher for UNSW Science of Innovation Lab and summarises some of the findings.

Blake writes there are three main benefits to allowing ourselves to daydream during the day. This is also called mind wandering and she states that researchers estimate we do this 30-50% of our days.

  1. Daydreaming can help to focus and be motivated for our future goals

Blake writes that Dr. Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at NYU says that fantasizing about achieving our goals assist to spur motivation on and keep us committed. Dr Oettingen states that by reflecting on reality and comparing it to fantasies about a desired future outcome, we are compelled to act. In other words, imagining the fulfilment of a dream she argues will lead us to being extremely committed to achieving this. Using our imagination we can stimulate our motivation and our action. Instead of thinking that daydreaming is useless it is actually very useful.

Blake (2018) also writes that Freud believed in the power of daydreams, that they represent “the human desire to alter the existing and often unsatisfactory or unpleasant world of reality.” She states also that studies have discovered mind-wandering that focuses on future planning, and tangible steps to reach the goal, help us to better prepare.

Therefore daydreaming a few times a day and imagining future possibilities can be important for your planning of what you wish to achieve.

  1. Daydreaming improves creativity

Mind wandering has been shown to light up connections across a series of interacting brain regions known as the default mode network (DMN). Studies have suggested that creative thinking is enlivened when this part of our brain is activated. The DMN helps us to connect associated ideas, also known as creative ideation. This process can lead to a steered actionable response. In fact, people who daydream demonstrate increased connectivity between these two networks.

This means If you daydream your ideas out, then you are more likely to come to an actionable outcome.

  1. Daydreaming promotes patience, helps decision making and improves achievement…

Studies have shown that adults who were tested with how long they can wait for a delayed reward, rather than settling for a smaller immediate reward. Research found that people whose minds wanders tend to be more patient, and then make better decisions. This could be because daydreaming allows us to escape everyday discomforts of real life, which allows us to withstand frustration in waiting for a delayed reward.

This may be because daydreaming allows us to escape the discomfort of real life, meaning we can withstand the frustration of waiting longer for a reward. This kind of escape also reflects memory consolidation mirrored in sleep. Researchers also found that taking a break between training tasks to let your mind wander, meant that the people studied performed better on the task on the following day than those who focused the whole time.

The take away from this is that it is okay and positive to let your mind wander. 🙂 Don’t let people tell you, you are wasting time.

Similarly, in an article by Sarah Berry in the Age and The Sydney Morning Herald (2017) found that a study in Georgia Institute of Technology showed that daydreaming improved creative and cognitive ability of those who were tested.

In this study, they took 100 participants and scanned their brains while they stared at fixed points for five minutes. After this, the participants completed tasks measuring creative and cognitive ability and completed surveys about how often they daydreamed daily. Those whose mind wandered scored more highly on creative and intellectual tests and had more efficient brain patterns.

Co-author, associate Psychology Professor Eric Schumacher said that people with “efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering.”

So this research shows that if you are allowing your mind to wander, roaming and imagining, and even resting from the pressures of daily life, then you are the opposite of ditzy, you are actually sharp intellectually and creatively. In the end you will be able to achieve your goals, and dreams in a more effective way than those who don’t allow their minds to roam. Don’t let anyone tell you, you are ditzy or vague, cause these things allow your mind to focus when it needs to. We should allow our minds down time, just like we allow our bodies downtime. We need this rest to pursue that which we wish to either create or achieve or accomplish in our lives. All of us have different desires in life. Either way, daydreaming is going to make our lives better, by allowing our minds to rest and relax and even enjoy roaming!

Go well and happy dreaming!

Writing a novel…with every brushstroke

Hey guys,

This morning I was reflecting on the process of writing a novel. I remembered how when I was young I used to be so intimidated by writing a novel. I felt in awe of how writers could include all of the characters physicality, their memories, speech, backstory, description of place, original plot lines, twists and turns and surprises and also the phenomenal voice, inventive imagery and metaphor that some authors employ.

All of this still impresses me and blows me away all the time. How some authors can do this in their novels so expertly! I still stand in admiration for these amazing artists.

However, now at least after writing two complete novels and now onto my third I have a different perspective on the writing process. I am not saying I am completely over this but now I can see the journey of writing a novel in a much more manageable and realistic manner. When I was younger maybe I felt that all of this magic came together for the writer in one go and they produced a phenomenally detailed and nuanced character driven plot with little work, stress or time. This was where I had no way of knowing then I was 11 or 12 years old what it is like to write a novel.

Now, I realise it is like painting. When I was young I wanted to be a visual artist or even a cartoonist. I would draw all the time when I was a kid practicing drawing faces, trees, landscapes, my favourite band members (haha) and I took painting lessons outside of school. I loved visual art. I have been reflecting on the process of writing a novel lately and realised it is a lot like painting. When you you create the whole piece by working on small parts gradually, so it could be the shading under the nose or eyes, or the neck, it could be the shading on the tree trunk, but nevertheless you work on small parts at a time. You also layer colours on top of one another and you put a foundation colour and then paint something lighter on top. You gradually create the whole picture/painting and when you stand back you can see the person’s face or the landscape forming, but when you are close up you can only see the colour and the brushstrokes.

So it is with writing. Each day I sit down and write the next part of the narrative and gradually I am building up the whole novel, creating each integral part that will necessarily fit together to make the whole picture, the whole world. You are layering colours upon colours, you are shading and creating fine detail. This is done gradually. Then with a novel you go back and you work on each chapter again to put more detail in, to fill in more colour and make it come alive even more. This is also what you do with painting at times, you will come back later and add some shading or light or additional colour.

So, the process of writing a novel – we should remember is gradual, it is writing down your first draft and not being worried that you will have to come back and put more detail in. That is a given. All authors need to do this. It is the gradual creation of the characters, the world, the sensory details and these all come together gradually to create your work. So this encourages me, it allows me to relax because the first draft is that, it is a skeleton where you can build the flesh of your story, and fill out their muscles and ligaments, skin and finger nails. All of this comes later.

Be encouraged just start writing and keep going. Once you have finished your first full draft then go back and examine every chapter and add detail and colour and characterisation or setting if you need. Then get another person to read it, then do another revision, and you will have to do this a few times. But each time your book will become what it was always meant to be. Be patient and kind with yourself. Enjoy the creation process, though the critiquing can be hard in the end you will be proud of your work.

But know that writing a novel is completed through those little faithful steps of writing every day or every second day and building and building and building on the bones of the narrative. Go well, happy writing!

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Writing…a real experience

Hey everyone,

For the first time since someone very close to me died in 2010, I have written a prose version of his death to be included in the new writing I am doing. After writing my first novel which includes nothing of myself in it, except possibly the common experiences of being a mother and little nuances of this–I did not include much about myself at all in that novel. I loved that and that it wasn’t part of my life.

Every part of the first novel was so far from my life. This second novel is also not my life but there may be a few elements of my own life that I will include. They always say “write what you know”, I don’t think this is a hard and fast rule. I think write what you don’t know – just as much as what you know. But for this novel I have just finished writing a scene about the death of someone close to me that will go into my second novel. It is good writing therapy to get this out and onto paper as it happened. I left out some detail, and I am sure I will develop it further. It was highly emotional, and brought up the devastation I felt. But I know once this has settled I will feel released.

I just wanted to share this with my readers, that this is a full on experience. One that I was afraid of confronting recently, as it would make me live those emotions again, but I am glad I did it. I cried and I wrote and I remembered. But it is okay. This is how writing therapy works, it will be okay. It is much better to confront these emotions when you are ready than putting it off and thinking it will go away.

This scene and plot will be integrated into the second novel – and many other elements will have nothing to do with my life. I am enjoying this process of exploring different methods of writing, including the fact of writing a chapter that is a lot later in the book.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that if you have something from your life that you want to experience release from, write it out honestly and not for an audience and you will experience freedom. I am also just fascinated by writing this novel completely differently to my first novel.

Thanks for reading! Go well! 🙂

Creativity on the holidays…

Hey guys,

I am enjoying starting my new novel which is about one of my characters from my other novel, Where the Sun Rises. (I am planning to have this published in the New Year) My main character is a journalist, a foreign correspondent and I am enjoying the fact that I know where she is from, (I am also from Sydney) and I don’t have to research every element of this narrative. There will be some research, as there always is with any book or script, but not as much as my other novel. 🙂 Not many novels could ever be as much as that. 😉

Anyway, it is a good time of year to keep creating. In Australia, we have very hot weather right now, and people holiday at this time. It is a good time to continue creating whatever project you are working on. I am also thinking about a script idea I have in the background as well. These are the things that make me excited! So, I hope you have some time to create some things this Christmas/holiday period. 🙂

Go well, thanks for reading! Suz

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A Creative Collection :)

Hey guys,

Just letting you know about my collection of short stories, it contains stories about life, love, loss and laughter. With plots in New York, Jenin, Israel, Sydney and Brisbane the stories explore a range of themes and aspects of being human. Here are a few reviews.

Thanks so much for reading! Kind regards, Suzanne

CreativeCollectionReviews1

CreativeCollectionReviews2

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