Modern studies of creativity have confirmed that ideas often come when we are not chasing them, but that’s not a new finding. Francis Bacon, Sr. advised:
Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.
Friedrich Nietzsche advocated solitary exercise as a stimulus:
We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books, when stimulated by books. It is our habit to think outdoors—walking, leaping, climbing, dancing, preferably on lonely mountains or near the sea where even the trails become thoughtful.
Henry Miller went a step further:
What the budding artist needs is the privilege of wrestling with his problems in solitude—and now and then a piece of red meat.
And we can ...