Brew Your Muse!

I’ve come to the realization that inspiration always strikes when I’m elbow deep in something that can’t be dropped for the sake of a notepad and pen.  No exceptions. I could sit at the computer for three straight days and not have as many amazing ideas as I do when I’m in the shower, washing dishes, or walking my dog.  And, naturally, before I’m done the task, someone or something always managed to distract me enough that the ideas go right out of my head.

Are you guys ready for my crazy solutions to this problem?  Okay.  Good.  Please feel free to laugh, I don’t mind.

  1. Verbalizing the idea. In short?  Talking to myself.  My family must think I’m batshit crazy because I stand in the shower and work out plot details out loud.  It comes from that whole “hear it, see it, do it” method of teaching that gets kids to remember things better.  I’m talking and listening to myself at the same time, and it helps to cement it in my memory.  Like repeating a person’s name when you meet them, so you’re more likely to remember it later.  =]
  2. Record it! I don’t do this one, personally, because I hate listening to my own voice.  I have friends that swear by recording their ideas onto their cell phone.  It’s the one thing most people always have with them, right?
  3. Repetition. This one is boring.  Think it over and over and over.  Boring.  But it gets the job done, usually, until you can run like hell to a notebook and scribble the brilliance onto a page.
  4. Avoid talking to people. Seriously.  Nothing will kill your train of thought like unrelated conversation.  Also, don’t put yourself in a zone to the point where you almost get hit by a car.  I’m very lucky to still have my legs from the knee down. >_>
  5. Maybe it’s just in my case, but don’t listen to music with lyrics. Music with lyrics KILLS my train of thought, and I end up rocking out and feeling something completely different by the time a song is over.

What’s the point of exploding awesome ideas into your head if you can’t remember them, right?  I’ve heard that “if the idea is really great, then you’ll remember it sooner or later.”  Maybe for some people, but most of my great ideas are pretty fleeting.  I blame my very-much-undiagnosed ADD, I don’t know about you guys.

No matter where your Muse percolates its awesome ideas, try not to lose them.  One of them may turn out to be the best thing you ever write.  =]



Filed under Life, Uncategorized, Writing

13 responses to “Brew Your Muse!

  1. Erin M

    Hahaha, “most of my great ideas are pretty fleeting” . . . I, too, worry that if I don’t write things down, I’ll never think of them again. I have to write everything down or I forget it. I have so many notes on bits of paper, to-do lists, and the like, it’s not even funny.

    I finally put a little pencil and notepad right outside my shower curtain, so that I can reach them if I think of things in the shower. Yep, I have used it; and surprisingly the paper withstands water pretty well XD

    The worst is when I think of something right before going to sleep. I mean, I have a notebook by my pillow, but I’m also an insomniac, so if I’m comfy and there’s a chance I might actually fall asleep, there is a really big conflict between “actually falling asleep” and “reaching the notebook to write down brilliant idea.” Though, half the time, when I write things down when I’m almost asleep, they make ABSOLUTELY no sense in the morning. I’m like . . . “What the . . ? O_o!” ^_^

  2. I KNOW, RIGHT??? That is SO true. The best ideas seem to come when it’s absolutely impossible to write them down. I like the talking to yourself idea- I’m definitely adopting this one. Enough people think I’m batshit crazy anyway, so who cares if a few more do… I’ve also adopted Anne Lamott’s idea [if you haven’t read “Bird by Bird” I recommend it – it’s about writing, but more than that, it’s just hilarious] and I now carry index cards and a very small pen with me at all times. I’m now known to stop suddenly while talking to someone and write something down.
    I also totally agree about music with lyrics!!! And it depresses me, since so many writers seem to thrive on music, and have these lists of “what I was listening to while I wrote this book” in their acknowledgments section… But I just can’t do it. I get distracted and want to sing along.

    • Erin M

      Whee, I’m butting in! . . . I’m exactly the same way about music with lyrics. If I make a playlist for a book . . . I can’t actually write while it’s playing XD . . . I often listen to baroque music, though. Something about the structure of the music helps me focus?

  3. I GET IDEAS WHILE I’M IN THE SHOWER TOO! Soooooo annoying…!!

  4. Getting ideas in the shower is the worst because I can’t write them down. Sometimes I write them on the wall or door but they get steamed over and I can’t read them anymore.
    Not only do I talk out plotlines to myself, I have different voices for different characters. I even act out their specific mannerisms.
    And I can’t concentrate with music. I get sucked into it lose the story. Damn my singing …

  5. Megs

    I’m definitely of the talking to myself persuasion. I love the idea of recording it though, I would never have thought of that. Not sure if my phone has that functionality, I shall have to check

    I do think myself lucky though beacause the majority of my ideas will hit me when my brain is switched off consciously – ie at work, so I’ve always got a pen/notepad/post-it-note/computer to jot ideas down on. It has the bonus of looking like I’m working as well!

  6. Haha, I so have to avoid music with lyrics, too. The lyrics always compete for my attention!

  7. Lua

    I get most of my ideas when I’m driving! I think it’s a cruel joke that God is playing on me and the only solution I’ve come up with is #3! Just turn the music off and repeat it until I get to a notepad and a pen. It is boring and people look at me like I’m crazy but it gets the job done :)

  8. unabridgedgirl

    Haha! My family thinks I am a nutcase, too. I am always talking to myself while doing my hair or typing at the computer, trying to work out details of a story. Sometimes, if I don’t say it out loud, the story doesn’t piece together as easily.

    Great ideas! I like the recording one, too. I am going to have to try it. :)

  9. junebugger

    I always get the best story ideas when I’m lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep. That’s why I have a notepad and a pen by my nightstand. Taking long walks while listening to soundtrack recordings helps me the most. Um… and recording helps A LOT. I hate listening to my voice as well. But recording my train of thoughts is a lot more efficient for me at times than writing, because my thought processes faster than my pen writes.

    • Same here. But for some reason whenever I put a writing journal next to my bed, it never ends up actually being there next to my bed when I get to sleep. I move things around a lot, I’m pretty anal that way, b/c I think everything should be in its place, so I absentmindedly will put things back in their place when they seem out of place. So trust me, I have lost many a brilliant idea, because I was just too tired to get up and get the journal in my desk and write it down. I also little notepad in my car or in my pocket, but again, unconsciously they would end up somewhere else by the time I had the idea while i was driving or walking, and… anyways its just been too much of a hassle.

      My trick, solidify the idea into a concrete, moving image. Those I never forget and they always come back to me even after I wake up. Real good ideas just don’t go away, i’ve found, they’re too good. At least in my experience, so I don’t worry too much. If it’s really THAT brilliant, I think any of us will get our asses up off the bed to write it down, or turn of the shower head and run naked to the room. lol. Great post!

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