Saturday, July 05, 2008

Showering the Plot

I have discovered two ironic things while writing my latest book. First, the ideas flow FAR more freely during summer, when I am not distracted by my job--and perhaps because I am more relaxed. During the school year I tend to stress out over my writing: I try to FORCE the ideas out, which makes them recede. Now they are tumbling out almost more quickly than I can record them.

The second thing I've noticed is the importance of the morning shower to the fiction process. This morning I got up early and did some writing. Then, feeling groggy, I dragged myself into the shower, during the process of which two crucial ideas occurred to me--problems in my plot that made me ask "Why didn't I see that before?"

Those WDISTB questions (as I just started calling them) tend to emerge in the shower. Why? Does the water on my skull actually dislodge thought particles from my brain?

I'd love to know if anyone else has ah-hah moments while having the morning (or evening) bath.

(Photo link here)

10 comments:

eric-mayer said...

I'm afraid adding water to my head doesn't produce ideas, however I do find I have a lot more ideas when I have a little free time and am not actually trying to think of ideas or even write.

Julia Buckley said...

A professor of mine once said this was called "the AHA theory of psychology." One cannot cudgel the brain for information, but if one lets the brain work at a subconscious level, the information (or idea) eventually rises to the top.

Karen Olson said...

I always come up with ideas in the shower. Perhaps because it's the perfect place: no one's bothering you and you're all alone and just with yourself and your thoughts.

I also wake up in the night with "aha" moments.

Although I find the summer less productive, because I have less time since my daughter's out of school and at camp and the camp schedule doesn't allow me any time to myself.

Julia Buckley said...

See, Karen, your problem is having some summer ambition and a daughter with some get-up-and-go.

Now, if you had my very lazy sons . . . .

STEVE BREWER said...

I often get ideas in the shower, the one place where you can't write them down. I've been known to scribble on steamy glass.

Julia Buckley said...

But then does one of your kids come and wipe it off? Mine are always mindlessly destroying my scribbed notes. Then they say "I didn't know it was important."

But I notice they never ask before they destroy. Hmmm . . ..

jwhit said...

Absolutely! Our club is hosting a trivia night in a few weeks and I had a brain-storm about how to arrange the seating and something else, I can't recall at the moment, while in the shower. I'm not even on the committee! But I sent it to someone who is and this morning she said she took it on board.

Julia Buckley said...

See? Somehow we must let our psychological guard down in the shower. Thank goodness these answers come to us SOMEWHERE!

Cindy Fey said...

The shower always works for me! I didn't know others got inspired in the steam too.

Julia Buckley said...

Maybe it's because the shower is the mother's escape. :)