Where are you? When an idea, a plot, or a character makes their presence known, how does it strike you? Because, let’s face it, while some ideas come to us while we’re overtly trying to be in that writer’s mindset, sometimes out of nowhere it will come flying up and smack you upside the head. Depending on the character, sometimes it might smack you a few times.
For me, ideas always pop into my head right when I’m trying to fall asleep. The process of falling asleep has always taken me about 15 to 30 minutes, as my brain actively attempts to fill dead space (insert proper blonde joke here) with random thoughts or plot lines.
While I was on my writing hiatus, I usually cursed these random thoughts and pounded my pillow in frustration as I tried to fall asleep. Now, however, I accept these intervals with open arms. I just accepted a cage match; I need all the help I can get! But of course, if I don’t write these small ideas down, I tend to wake up with a vague recollection that I had a great plotline come to me. Unfortunately, I can’t recall exactly what that plotline was. I don’t have a bedside table with a lamp, so for now I slip my phone under my pillow. Set on vibrate of course, otherwise the random twitter and email beeps would wake me up. If an idea comes at me, then I reach for it, and use the notepad function on it to jot a few lines down, or key words, to help me remember in the morning.
So do you keep a notepad with you wherever you go? Or are you one of those truly disturbing individuals who can keep track record mentally of the exact ideas until later?
Where are you when inspiration strikes?
My ideas can come at any time, but oddly it’s usually when I’m taking a break and playing bejeweled or mahjonng dimensions. I think they must induce a trance like state. Lol. Also I get a lot of plot points in the shower for some odd reason. Maybe those are the only times I’m relaxed enough to let my subconcious through. I read at night til I’m dropping my kindle, so as soon as I set it down and turn out the light I’m asleep.
Sometimes I make a post-it which I stick to my monitor, sometimes I just remember.
Janelle R Jensen said:
I’m the same way it seems, Stacey. If I try too hard, then the ideas don’t come as well, but if my subconscious is at play while I let my mind wander, then the ideas flow through more fluidly. Thanks!
I definitely need a notepad. 🙂 I also suffer the same case of active-mindedness prior to falling asleep. It takes me hours sometimes. Although, on a few occasions I was lucky enough to continue with the plotline in my dream, which is really the best if you can learn to remember your dreams after you wake up. In addition, my ideas seem to come mostly when I’m doing something that doesn’t require any mind processing, lol. So every time I walk down the street or take a shower, I go through ideas in my head, hoping I’ll remember them long enough to write. After all, I can hardly write 24/7.
Janelle R Jensen said:
It often takes me longer to fall asleep; I have to take a sleep aid in order to get any rest at all. That’s what I need to do! Dream the entire story – beginning to end! That would be great! My memory often fails, lol.
By the way, this gives me brain food for my next blog post. Most of the time lately, blog posts give me ideas, for which I am thankful to the author. So thanks, Janelle. 🙂
Janelle R Jensen said:
Welcome! I love that we often get ideas/thoughts from other stuff we see in each others writings. I take it as a compliment. 🙂
Rik Davnall said:
My last two literally came from dreams. The last dreams before waking – which are usually the only ones I remember. Failing that, usually while I’m lying awake and trying to get to sleep.
Often I’ll get the beginnings of an idea from walking past a conversation in the street or passing some scene or other on the bus or train and imagining the rest of the conversation, but these normally either stay too mundane or get too weird for my taste.
Evocative scenery tends to be something I find quite inspiring, though. I can only stare at stunning mountains and swooping valleys for so long before wanting to have characters get lost or found among them. As such I tend to come up with a lot of ideas when on holiday, too.
I keep a notebook and pens with me at all times, though (and get a lot of mockery for always having pens around – perils of being a writer, I suppose).
eden baylee said:
When I go out, I always have a notepad if I carry a purse, or my ipod to record ideas.
Inspiration also strikes when I’m taking a shower, which sometimes makes for very long showers and expensive water bills!
Good idea about the phone under the pillow. I have had those same experiences, and only write when struck by some divine inspiration.
I see you live in Chicago… I lived in Bucktown and Wicker Park for 10 years… my favorite city in the world.