Friday, September 04, 2009

I tweeted earlier that I was going to shower to figure out what I'd be blogging today. Yes, Twitter can be that lame. But it worked. While I was showering I realized I could blog about...showering.

I'll spare you the damp details of my shower. It's not about my fabulous remodeled bathroom with its two shower heads, it's about why showering boosts your creativity. Yes, being clean and smelling sweet is wonderful, even when you're the only one in your house staring at your screen and keyboard, but it's not about that either. It's about how boring, repetitive tasks can free up your mind.

I hear this all the time from other writers--"I get my best ideas in the shower." Think about it: You're in a box without anything exciting catching your eye. You probably wash yourself using the same pattern of movements almost every day. This repetitive mindless activity may be just what your muse needs to wake up and give you that plot breakthrough you've needed. It's happened to me more times than I can count. I used to think I needed a waterproof board and crayon with me to write things down, but fortunately that hasn't been necessary. I do, however, keep a notepad and pen in my bathroom drawer, just in case.

The other place where my muse comes awake is on my daily dog walk. I very purposefully do not take a phone or music player with me. Sure, it's more boring that way, but that's the point--the very boring nature of the task opens up parts of my mind that aren't coming into play when I'm focusing on my driving or listening to a phone conversation.

However, there are times when music can do the trick. Ask any writer what she listens to while writing and you'll get a range of responses about the playlist. For me, it's epic movie soundtracks: Braveheart, Rob Roy, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings and of course, all of the Pirates of the Caribbean scores. When that music kicks in, it's a signal to my brain that it's time to write and I'm much more focused without being distracted.

So, if you're doing something different but it works for you, what is it? I'm always looking for new ways to wake up my muse, and one of you may have just the thing that's needed!


Ashley Ladd said...

My muse comes alive when I'm taking long walks and when I'm swimming, especially when I'm on my back with my ears under water.

Darlene said...

Ashley--That makes sense. The water blocks much of the outside noise, so you hear yourself think.