7 Ways to Stretch Time

You can learn to stretch time and be more creative.

Posted Feb 07, 2010

Drop down into a flow state, where your mind is so absorbed by what you're doing that time seems to stop. That's one fail-safe way to stretch time indefinitely. The clock will catch up with you later, of course, but in that flow state you won't feel constrained by its mocking tick-tock.

Below are additional ways to free your creative mind from the confines of time. I've gathered (and, in some instances, adapted) them from Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind and from Time to Write, in which more than 100 professional writers across genres reveal how they fit writing into their lives. Both books are by Kelly L. Stone, a licensed professional counselor and novelist (Grave Secret), whose articles and essays have appeared in, among other places, Family Circle and Writer's Digest.

Give these a try:

1. Keep a dream journal. By steeping yourself in thoughts of your project before you go to bed, your subconscious may lead you toward solutions. And by inviting dreams that relate to your creative work, you'll add hours to your productive time.

2. Combine exercise with creating. Get out into nature, which tends to be relaxing. Many writers solve creative problems while walking or exercycling.

3. Have coffee with your characters. Imagine sharing your first cup of the day with a character you're writing about to learn more about his or her plans, motivations, history.

4. Write (or create) consistently. That way you will avoid most of the dithering procrastination that precedes productive work, and thus you'll add extra useful time to the session.

5. Surround yourself with inspiring objects to keep your subconscious focused on your project and goal.

6. Carry a notebook or recorder everywhere so you can make use of bits of time that would otherwise get frittered away.

7. Set goals and quotas for yourself, whether words or pages or amount of time per day. Such goals may help you stretch yourself to accomplish a bit more than you would without them.

* Thinking Write contains a CD with guided meditations (an effort I'm far more open to after peeking into the research).

* Stone posts weekly creativity tips at her blog

(The copyrighted rocking chair photograph at the top has been used with the kind permission of Joan Mazza.)