#amwriting: mindwandering and the creative muse

kleenexI’ve been suffering from a heavy cold all weekend, and doing my work from bed. Me and NyQuil are once again best friends. So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I wrote what was supposed to be today’s blogpost and instead of pressing the “save as draft” button, I hit “publish.”


So that meant I didn’t have a post for today. Thus, I have gone to the archives, and pulled up an old post, updated a few thing and voila! I have a post for today. Yesterday’s post  still there, so check it out!

When people first discover I write fantasy tales, the first thing they ask (after what the heck are you thinking) is where I get ideas for my tales.  I usually give them some song-and-dance about adapting modern relationships and values to mythological world situations and while it’s true, it’s not the whole truth.

The real truth is, these thing just pop into my head, and I think “Wow – that would be a good story.”  I will be riding in the car listening to music, not thinking about anything in particular and I will have a flash of brilliance – What if the dark ages never happened? or  How would Europe look if the Druids had conquered Europe instead of the Romans?

If I’m smart, I will write the idea down, because I’m 63 years old and the old main-frame ain’t what she used to be, memory-wise.

The flow of random thoughts really is the river of creativity for me. Letting your mind roam free and allowing the possibilities to enter your stream of consciousness (or not, as they will) is good for you.  Fifteen or twenty minutes a day of simply watching the world go by will rejuvenate you.

Some people will say, “I don’t have time to waste daydreaming,” and that’s all right for them. I personally need to throw open the windows of my mind and let the breezes clear away the musty ideas which get in the way of my creativity. For me, the path to writer’s block is paved with “I don’t have time to relax!”

Don’t get me wrong, I get up at 5:30 am and immediately begin blogging. After noon I read for several hours and then I do revisions or work on my current Work In Progress. I read before I go to sleep.  I do two weekly book review blogs besides this blog, and all in all I work 10 to 16 hours a day at this job, but it is interspersed with various household tasks and errands.  I also take the time to let my mind rest, simply watching the town go by from my back porch.

Some people call it meditation, and some people call it a waste of time.

I call it necessary.

I think of my mind as if it were an ‘idea farm.’.Just as a wise farmer allows his fields to occasionally lie fallow it is important to let your mind rest. Letting farmlands lie fallow is one of the best ways of allowing the land to replenish its nutrients, and regain its fertility. Letting your mind roam with no particular direction is essential in lowering your stress levels (!) which immediately improves your health and your thought processes.

So I guess  when  someone asks me where I get ideas for my tales I should tell them the truth:

I don’t really know!

mindwandering and the creative muse was first published on Life in the Realm of Fantasy on July 11, 2012 under the title The Idea Farm.

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