You are a storyteller.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a writer. It doesn’t matter if you can retell a tale you heard with ease, or if every time you open your mouth nothing comes out but jumbled half-phrases and stuttering apologies.
It doesn’t matter. You are still a storyteller.
All humans are. By nature we are attracted to conflict—at least, the kind we can observe with the hope of witnessing a resolution. Put us in front of a TV, leave a book lying around or start telling us about the strange couple you saw in the grocery store, and we almost don’t have a choice.
Daydreaming is part of our storyteller’s DNA. Some people tend to have smaller daydreams—winning that argument, standing up to that boss, acing that class, asking out that girl. Others dream a little wilder—flying, overtaking a planet, becoming a New York Times bestselling author. No matter the caliber of the daydream, it’s still an intrinsic part of who we are as humans.
Imagine a world without daydreaming. Imagine also (if you dare) a world without stories entirely. Nothing would exist except the now, the current sequence of events in which we as humans carry on our daily survival.
Okay, stop that now, it’s too dismal. And besides, you can’t even imagine such a bleak world without using some of your daydreaming skills. Daydreaming exercises the imagination. It gives you free reign to control parts of your life which limit you. It gives you the chance to be free and to experience, for a short time, how life would be when the ‘what if’ questions are answered.
An article by Joseph Stromberg, from the Smithsonian, even details the connection between active daydreaming and working memory. It has been shown that those who daydream more often have a greater capacity to remember things on a day-to-day basis.
Some might disagree. Daydreaming can be distracting, they say, or even depressing. Why bother wishing for something you can’t have when there is no choice but to come back to the reality of your life when the daydream is over? Isn’t that harmful?
Only if you allow it to be. The mind is a powerful tool, and if you sharpen it with the wrong intention or in a destructive direction, you can only expect to reap the results as they come. But to take away someone’s imaginative freedom? To deny someone adventure, excitement, inspiration and encouragement? These are elements humans crave—naturally—as storytellers.
Therefore daydreaming deserves a lot more credit than it sometimes gets. As a writer, daydreaming has become invaluable. I just put on beautiful music, find a secluded place to think and close my eyes. Next thing I know, a story is already brewing. Without daydreaming, I would not be a writer.
So don’t resist daydreaming. (Except, perhaps, if you are in an important meeting or driving a car). Your imagination will relish the chance to work. And who knows? It could spark an idea which could, someday, make you that New York Times bestselling author. Without daydreaming, you’d never know.