Last week I posted about the fantastic Conversation with Joyce Carol Oates  I attended. The prolific writer was in Rome and shared her views on writing, literature and the creative process.

One of the things that struck me was how often she mentioned her need to be quiet and think – to daydream – as the most important aspect of the creative process. She spoke about how much time she sits quietly looking out the window, or thinks while out on walks or jogs, and how she uses that time to let her imagination run free and to come up with ideas and storylines for her work.

It left me wondering – is this unstructured daydreaming time more difficult to carve out in our hectic, modern world? Does the constant distraction of Smartphones, ipads and keeping up with social media have a negative effect  on the sustained, uninterrupted thinking we need throughout the creative process?

Like many people, my work is increasingly dependent on modern technology, and I often feel  a slave to this technology. This always leaves me craving tech-free time – the joy of being blissfully unconnected.

I spend a lot of weekends out in the mountains of Abruzzo with my family. We have no internet. Even cell phone reception is spotty. But there is lots of time for long walks and hikes and bicycle rides and horseback riding and long picnics.

I spend a lot of time just looking at the mountains or watching the clouds and thinking. This is where I work through many story ideas and I’m always more productive during these get-aways. I love the slower rhythms and the creative flow that I believe is stifled by too much technology and the constant interruptions they necessitate.

What about you, writers? When are you most productive? Do you “schedule in” daydreaming time when you’re working thorough plot lines or creating characters in your story?