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Your favorite place to dream?

Sometimes it’s difficult to get the words out when faced with a computer screen, no matter how many words have been put there before. Sometimes there’s a need to dream up the scene or to brainstorm it out before the actual words show themselves. For that, we all have different methods.

For me, there are a few ways that are more relaxed, allowing my mind to wander and sink into play mode, and a few ways that are more stringent, forcing my mind to come up with alternatives. I think the best methods are some combination of the two, preferably on a continuous basis.

For more relaxed methods, it’s important to let my mind free and to do that, it requires a lack of interruption. I know. Sometimes getting to a place of no interruption can be difficult, if not impossible. The best places I’ve found that tend to work is on long walks by myself or in the shower. These tend to be times when I don’t have anyone with me or anyone talking to me. These are also times when I’m far less likely to have my phone on me, giving me an easy distraction.

Other methods that sometimes work are during exercising, preferably monotonous times of exercise, and any job that takes your hands, but not your mind, like folding laundry or doing dishes or when you’re laying in bed about to fall asleep (all those awesome ideas that come right before you’re about to forget them all!)

If you have a way of relaxing like this each day, it can be really helpful in untangling plot holes or coming up with solutions to character arcs or twists.

Sometimes though, we don’t have enough relaxing time (unfortunately). Which means that we have to go brunt force. In order to do this, I generally do one of two things.

The first way is by setting myself up with a timed run on the computer where I just write ALL thoughts about the story that pop into my head. Just right them down, get them out, no matter how stupid. This can lead me to talking to myself on the page, explaining on screen why certain ideas won’t work, why I have to do something in a certain particular way. I can often end up with a big pile of crap where I’m continually deleting the top half and working with the bottom because more and more of the story and outline becomes clearer and clearer. But note, that none of this is actually words in a draft; it’s merely forced dreaming, working through different ideas and their merits.

The second way I do this is to talk out loud at someone. And I mean AT. Not TO. The other person is merely there to operate like the screen. Sometimes they can throw out an idea that is almost always horrible and will never work, but that allows me to explain why and how the idea can’t work at all, giving my brain more pieces to fit into the puzzle.

Sometimes, if I’m particularly stuck, I use both person and screen.

But in actual answer to the actual question, my favorite place to dream, is by myself, with pen and paper, outside, in the warmth, with only calming noises around me. This is a combination of both the relaxed mind-wandering states and the forced brainstorming states. I’m both relaxed in both and mind, allowing my mind to sift through whatever story I’m working on, and also writing down each and every idea and working through why some will work and others won’t.