I’d forgotten how important doing nothing is.
Creativity springs from moments of quiet. Times when you aren’t rushing around, when you don’t have to be juggling three duties at once, times when you can just sit back in your chair and stare out the window or even up at the ceiling, letting your mind go blank…
Inspiration is rarely noisy. It doesn’t compete with all the busyness and noise in our lives. Instead, it prefers to come to us when we’re doing nothing – open and quiet and ready to hear it.
I’d forgotten this. Somewhere along the way of jobs that didn’t need – or support – moments of quiet, along the way of juggling full-time jobs with full-time school with relationships with real-life problems… Somewhere through all of that, I lost the ability to just be still and do nothing. To let the words and images come to me.
I think that’s why the standard advice to “just write” hasn’t always sat well with me. You do need to “just write,” but first, you have to “just be” so your brain knows what you’re going to write.
I’ve discovered that the quality and quantity of my work (including my writing) is almost always higher when I work in short, concentrated bursts separated by even shorter periods of do-nothing time, small chores, or physical activity. I’m re-learning to pay attention to when my brain starts feeling frazzled or is hitting a wall and then STOPPING to take a micro-break. And then I’ve found that the micro do-nothing breaks are the most important because it’s when I sit back and just stare out at my environment that my brain starts making the connections I need to take the next step in my project. I can often even see the connections, that’s how powerful my do-nothing time is.
So here’s what I’m giving you tonight: permission to just sit in your chair and do nothing, for as long as you need to. It might be hard at first if you haven’t ever done it, but I promise you, it’ll be worth it!