Those little writing lightbulb moments never seem to come with good timing. For me, I seem to be struck with lightning just as I’m loading my groceries onto the conveyor and can’t stop to grab my pen and journal. Suddenly, I become a crazy woman muttering a stream of brilliant dialogue under her breath, hoping to heaven that I’ll remember the words until I’m through being nice to the cashier, swiping my card, presenting my coupons, indicating plastic or paper, and waving off the chatty bag-boy so I can hot-foot it to the safety of my car and record my inspiration.
My other bad place is the shower. Always the shower. There’s not much to think about during mindless shower routines other than the next scene, or how I’m going to seamlessly transport my character from the Phoenix airport to Sedona without worrying about lost luggage, car rentals, road maps, and the weird toothless guy that keeps turning up at every stop. Then it hits me! That’s when I figure out the details — in full shampoo regalia. I’ve yet to find the directions that say, shampoo, receive inspiration, rinse and repeat.
So, what do I do when I’m in a place where it’s impossible to write out my thoughts? I obsess. That’s what I do — obsess. Mull it over and over, until I can sit down with pen and paper, or better yet, my computer with its hand-saving Dragon Naturally Speaking software.
It’s a funny thing about inspiration — it rarely visits when I’m ready for it. Rather, it knocks on the door of my mind when I’m dressed in jeans and a baseball cap, no makeup, and I’m just going out the door for a walk. Or it slaps me just as I’m sitting down for coffee with a friend, or when I’m holding hands with my dear hubby in the dark of a movie theatre.
I wish I knew what other writers do during those awkward visitations. Me? I just do my best, knowing if I miss one moment of inspiration, another will surely come along soon.
I heard of one writer who just wrote things down on scraps of paper when he thought of something good. At night, he’d throw whatever pieces of paper he had in a shoe box. At the end of a year, he had enough written thoughts to flesh out an entire book.
I’d do that, too, if I could figure out how to write in the shower.