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Monday, April 5, 2010

Where the Magic Happens...

All right, get your mind out of the gutter! I am NOT talking about the bedroom!

What I am talking about is that one particular spot where suddenly and magically, the ideas begin to flow! The place you go when writer’s block has gotten the better of you or you muse has completely abandoned you.

This post is inspired by a presentation at my local chapter meeting a few months ago. The presenters, Isabo Kelly and Leanna Renee Hieber informed us that they may be the cleanest authors around because their best ideas tend to come to them while they’re washing their hair! Others say their ideas come while they’re doing dishes or cleaning house – that’s definitely not a magical spot for me!

This topic got me thinking, but for the life of me, I couldn’t pinpoint a specific location. Until one day while I was sitting in the chiropractor’s office, waiting for my appointment. One page into the book I was reading, my mind started to wander. And it wandered to a magical place that told me exactly what the backstory for my next heroine needed to be. I whipped out my iPhone and flipped to the notes, only to discover that the last time I was in a doctor’s waiting room – a mere 11 days prior for an eye appointment – I had written notes for the major plot twist I’d thought of for the WIP I was working on at the time. So, in the end, it looks like being a hypochondriac has paid off :)

I've also realized that workouts are a good time to let the muse take over. I really hate spinning with all my heart, but my husband loves it, so on occasion I compromise and join him for a class. What I find is that the only way to get through the grueling hour is to let my mind wander to my books and characters. I've had quite a few good ideas come to me in my misery!

What about you? Do you have a place you go to help you break through the barrier of writer’s block? What do you do when your muse has taken a vacation?

-Jerrica, Her Grace of Grammar


  1. I find that my best ideas come to me when I am moving--literally. Jogging, spinning, even sitting on the subway leads to great ideas. If I get stuck, I often get up and pace around the room just to get the ideas flowing again.

    Great post Jerrica:)

  2. Great post, Jerrica. If I want to write, all I have to do is go clean my sons' bathroom. Immediately, my head fills with a hundred different plot twists screaming to be written down. In more pleasant locations, I get a lot of ideas biking the Boise River or mowing the lawn.

  3. Mine tend to often come when I'm in bed, or when I'm driving. So, I've got a notebook and pen parked permanently beside the bed, and another one situated in the glove box of my car. I hate having to get out of bed to scribble something down, so it is just easier to have something sitting right beside me.

  4. Jerrica:
    I sit in my car in the passenger seat with the windows rolled up and the seat let back and just meditate. In the summer it's too hot to do, but in the fall and spring, it provides the perfect vacumm of quiet.
    I often brainstorm in the car on the way to work. I quite listening to music in the car a long time ago because the words catch your attention and you start singing along with them and that breaks your concentration.
    At home, I put my headphones on with instrumental music playing to block out exterior noise and write. I'm able to focus for longer periods of time and my ideas are more fluent that way.

    Write on,
    Teresa R.

  5. Funny how ideas come from the strangest places sometimes...

  6. I love this blog!! I wondered about this too!! When I try to write in certain places there is no mojo!

    I think that I get some of my best ideas in the shower! The writing flows the best when I am on my bed in the full sunshine with my laptop. The new ideas for plot twists come while watching the history channel! ;)

    When is your next appointment? LOL!! I hope you have a great day!

  7. Good heavens! Once again Catherine and I have the same answer. :)

    I was going to make a silly comment about my magical spot BEING in bed. But it's true. After the lights go out at night and I'm there in the dark, my mind starts to put my stories together. Sometimes it's hard to get to sleep.

    And driving too! A long time ago, I used to carry around a pocket tape recorder, so I could talk into it when I was driving - because using a pen and paper when you're behind the wheel is just a bad idea!

  8. LOL @Lydia. Are we sharing a brain?

    I need to get a pocket recorder. Instead, I'm forced to pull over somewhere and write. Not a big deal, unless I'm already late.

  9. Great topic!

    Mine always come to me on the stage! Which is terrible, cause they like to voice themselves in the middle of my part, which, sadly, makes me stumble and Madame Queen Director gets mighty miffed. I also get them in the house listening to rehearsal, in the dark, and on top of parking garages (I am now the Westside Parking Garage's regular, except I sneak in on foot. Hey, I've been thrown out twice! Ha ha.). I envy the people who get ideas whilst doing normal stuff - cleaning, etc. You'll always clean, but, sadly, theatre productions will always end!

  10. Very interesting blog, Jerrica. I've probably mentioned more than once that most of my ideas come in the shower. I don't worry about writing them down. I just let myself day dream and I usually remember later.

    Sometimes I have ideas as I'm waking in the morning and those I must write down right away. If I'm having trouble figuring things out, I often go to bed with the expectation I'll have it worked out by morning and usually I do.

    I always compose short stories while driving, not verbatim, but I work out the plotting. And I imagine conversations in my head.

    I talk through ideas in the hot tub with hubby or standing in our kitchen. Don't ask me why we stand in the kitchen to talk. It just seems to work out that way. He is so patient to listen to me talk on and on about my characters. I thought it very sweet one day when he mentioned a past character by name as if he were a real person. :)

  11. I always get my best ideas in the shower. It never fails. Second best place is in bed when my mind is drifting somewhere between sleeping and waking. Unfortunately, I have to make sure I wake all the way up when something good comes to me and write it down. Otherwise I'm sure to forget it.

  12. My best ideas used to come while walking the dog, and she was a perfect distraction when stories got tangled up too.

    I need another dog...

  13. I take a shower; for some reason I always have ideas after a shower.

    I lay down in bed; either my brain will muddle something out or I'll take a nap and I have amazingly helpful dreams.

    I take a drive; I spent my childhood on the road and it's a great focuser for me.


  14. I don't have a physical place to go, but an emotional place. I go to the DVD player and put on Phantom of the Opera. I don't know what it is about the haunting music, but before the movie is over I have my characters chatting away like crazy. It's never failed me yet and, you know what, I think I need to take a journey there right now because I am empty inside my head. I wonder what my characters are up to now that I need to write that scene at the end of the book when they finally are able to be together in love. ;)

  15. When I'm browsing scholarly and obscure sites on the Internet about British or Norse medieval life, sometimes a name or an occurrence will give me a full-blown, three-dimensional idea for a character, a plot line, or a scene. The Anglo-Saxon chronicle does that for me sometimes, too. (When Osgod Clapa the Master of Horse was outlawed in 1049...hmmmm...maybe he had a fictitious sister...who just happened to live in...hmmm. And so it goes. Elizabeth Knowles

  16. I'd have say the bath versus the shower. I shower every day before work but am usually in too much of a hurry to let the thoughts intrude but when I get home at night I'll take a warm bath and that's where my characters start to talk. Great post Jerrica!

  17. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! It's so fun to learn where people find their inspiration! I have some new spots to try now, too :)