I’m the kind of person that has a hard time sitting and doing nothing. If I have a spare moment between tasks, I’ll usually fill it with a few pages of whatever book I’m reading, a few minutes of the TV show I’m trying to get through, or a mindless game on my iPad. Basically, I suck at being silent and still.
But in the last few weeks, I’ve had more time to practice…
Thanks to all of the hours I spend sitting at my desk writing (both for work and for pleasure), my level of activity has declined. This has forced me to get up and walk more. Now, a few times throughout the day, I’ll take a short walk around the block. It helps me to stretch my legs and gets the blood pumping.
From the first day, I determined that I wouldn’t bring along an audiobook or music, but I would just be alone with my thoughts. A few minutes of walking couldn’t hurt, right?
The more I walked in silence, the more I realized how wonderful it could be. I came up with the plot of an entire novel in just two days, and all because I spent those few minutes walking around the block and letting my mind worry at the problem.
I’ve started to do a lot more in silence. Things like driving to pick up my kids, walking to the gym, taking a short trip to the supermarket, or lying in bed waiting for the missus. I used to fill every spare moment with entertainment, but now I’ve learned that it’s nice to just sit/lie/walk and think. I’ve come up with all sorts of awesome ideas, some of which I would consider the “best” I’ve ever had.
I highly recommend it for anyone who is in a creative profession–art, writing, design, etc. Just taking a few moments of peace and quiet with no noise or distraction can do wonders for the ol’ creative juices, and it can help you get in the frame of mind for whatever you’re about to do.