A lot of us today feel the need to always be doing something. Anything. Whether reading, doom-scrolling on our phones, talking, exercising, or any number of activities, the lack of doing something can make us anxious or feel unproductive. And while there is a case to be made that being productive is a good thing, there is also a strong argument about doing the exact opposite…
I know; it sounds like a crazy concept. But author Neil Gaiman uses doing nothing as part of his creative tool kit, and it’s definitely something to consider using when you sit down to write.
So, let’s talk about it!
Why Do Nothing?
Giving your mind a chance to relax can help you focus on your creativity. This is especially true when you are in the process of writing. It’s a way to free your mind and create a safe space for ideas to flow and float to the surface of your consciousness.
It can be a challenge to do this, but if you are already writing, taking a moment to stop and think instead of panicking about not having an idea or next sentence in mind can be a great way to give yourself permission to take a creative breath before moving forward.
The hard part will be not doing something else, but with practice, you can train yourself to decide when you sit down to write to either write or do nothing.
Would this Work If I Was Doing Something Else?
Short answer: Yes! I often come up with ideas or new concepts for stories or chapters when I’m on a walk at work or working out, even when relaxing at the end of a long day. Allowing yourself to be creative while not feeling pressured to create can help you develop ideas.
Just make sure you have a notepad or phone handy to jot any ideas down.
This is my personal view, and it works well for me. It is important to find creative tactics that work best for you and stick with them.
Neil Gaiman: In His Own Words
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s Neil Gaiman, in his own words, speaking about allowing himself to do “absolutely nothing, or write.”
While it’s easy for us to become overly distracted by everything in and outside our lives, giving yourself permission to do nothing can have great creative benefits. Taking this concept into an activity that doesn’t require much thought can allow your brain to work out creative concepts.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!