“Why are you just sitting there doing nothing?” is the question that makes getting your head into the creative zone so hard. I guess that’s why it’s better to do when you’re alone.

You wouldn’t think that sitting there doing nothing would be so damn valuable. But it is if you do it right. The fact is, your brain is clogged with a billion little things that make up the fabric of day to day life. Things like remembering to pick up milk, calling your mom, wondering why your boss both dresses terribly and hates you. There are so many things to think about, in fact, that it makes creativity nearly impossible.

Daydreaming is the answer.

I admit, I might have done a little too much of it in high school. But since I knew algebra wasn’t going to be the slightest bit helpful later, I helped myself to a healthy dose of floating away amidst the hustle and bustle.

This turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons of all. Daydreaming is an incredible tool if used just right. The goal is to let your mind wander without judgement. It’s harder than it sounds because humans are fairly judgemental people. We tend to think of idle time as time lost, not time well spent.

Does it matter what you daydream about?

No. Editing your daydreams for content is the worst thing you can possibly do. Just let go and free yourself from what should be and what must be.

A wandering mind will come up with the most amazing things. And inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to think about musical things if you’re trying to write a song. And you don’t have to think about chisels if you’re trying to sculpt. What you have to do is let your conscious mind turn off and leave the driving to serendipity.

What happens next.

This is the good part. Once your mind is open, things just come to you. Here again, you want to do your absolute best not to edit or judge. You spent all that time letting go, now is not the time to take control.

If you managed to get yourself into an anything-can-happen state of mind, you’ve created the best possible scenario for what I lovingly refer to as “trying shit out”.

Try out that riff you’ve been kicking around. Find three chords and set someone’s poetry to music. Create enough momentum to carry you through the occasional moment of doubt and into the sublime state of true creativity.

For extra credit, record your session and listen back later. Even if you’re not in the same state of mind, this can give root to a web of tangents and maybes. And when it comes down to it, that’s where art begins.