It is uncommon for me to do this – forgive and bear with me as I wax mystical.
It is critical to your creative work to be attuned to ideas* that come into your mind, to be aware enough to notice them when they arrive and snag them when they do.
Such ideas slide in from the wings and are on stage very briefly. They appear during meetings at work or while you’re standing in line at Meijer. They show up while you’re brushing your teeth or sweeping your garage.
You don’t summons these ideas. You don’t conjure them. They come when they please. They come to you with the mundane, in the daily routine. You may not be sure you detected anything at all, but when you go to capture them, to write, it turns out that there was a wonder that shimmered in your periphery.
Your brain has energy to spare. It is always working, all of it. The skill a writer needs to learn is to notice what it offers and to harness it. This is the creative dance between the conscious and the subconscious. This awareness is another of the creative muscles you must build.
*I’m talking only about creative ideas here. They could be ideas on characters or ideas on how to structure a piece (“maybe that poem should really be a flash fiction”).
Ideas about your next career move or what to get your spouse for his/her birthday do not require this sort of awareness. The practical matters flop down right in front of our faces. That calculus is all done in the logical, conscious part of our minds. The brain’s creative processes are factors more subtle than this.