Tuesday, May 13, 2008


There’s nothing more rewarding than lumberjack portions of inspiration to fill your writing platter. Those surges, over-flowing with brilliant ideas and creative solutions, pulsate through your brain and pump your writing appetite into maximum overindulgence. In the writing kingdom that’s a good thing. What induces theses magnificent moments, and why they sometimes emerge at inopportune times, is a mystery as hard to solve as a good Agatha Christie book.

Some of my greatest ideas, scenes, and dialogue attack me at the most inconvenient times. The instant I slip into the shower golden remedies to problem areas and sensational dialogue sequences rain through my brain and drip from my tongue like refined grade A honey. If I could suction cup a waterproof computer to the wall I’m convinced I could write breathtaking chapters all day...or until the hot water ran out.

Writing inspirations and solutions have also attacked me in the middle of the night on a potty trot, mixing bread dough with flour up to my elbows, and driving the car. Most recently they struck at the doctor’s clinic with my legs in the stirrups in examination room number three.

Some situations make it difficult to jot down those magnificent gems at their moment of birth. To preserve those eloquent and precious sentences I’ve developed a memory tool. I repeat the thought out loud at least three times to help it stick to vacant wall space in my brain until I can place my hands on a pen and notepad. This method is foolproof most of the time, but glitches can arise. For example: In the examining room it doesn’t matter how delicate and professional your thrice repeated dialogue between two women comparing their husbands to the mold and grout around their kitchen sinks might sound. This chant will net a quick referral to a specialist of another kind.

Do you have a favorite place or time when writing inspiration ignites you? What do you do when writing inspirations irrupt in an inconvenient setting? Do tell. The next time I face examination room number three I want to be armed and ready when a force of genius strikes and illuminates my writing world.


Paty Jager said...

Oh my gosh, Lori! You have me in tears of laughter again!

As for when wonderful prose and ideas hit, either when I'm painting, scrubbing, or driving tractor, I either run for a piece of paper and pen or in the case of driving the tractor I keep a notebook with me and Gerrit has learned when the tractor stops in the middle of the field I'm writing down an inspiration!

As for the shower you can get that kid's soap that allows you to write on the wall.

As always, entertaining!

Alice Sharpe said...

Another fun blog, Lori.

When I can't write something down, I, too, say it aloud, but usually on a cell phone to my daughter. I can't think of too many times I've had to ask her to tell me what I said, so apparently, it's the telling of it that cements it in my mind. Also, over the years, I've developed a certain skill for holding onto an idea for awhile, but that is hardly foolproof (as witnessed by some of my internal musings as I ramble through the house: "What did I come up with late last night? It ws an insight, it was a flash of brilliance, it made everything connect... Was it about the murder or about the hero? Wait, maybe it was the horse. No, it was a bit of overheard conversation. But what?" )

I also find scraps of paper, notebooks, magazine margins, etc... covered with scribbles of notations that apparently never made it up to my computer so apparently the act of writing it down also serves as memory enhancement.

I bet the whole doctor office thing as a hoot!

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Lori, did you ever think about writing a humorous book? LOL! What a fun blog.

Oh, yes, you did ask a question. I remember those inopportune flashes of genius by repeating them over and over INSIDE my head. No mutterings out loud that trigger referrals to one of "those" specialists.

Isn't there voice-activated spyware that could take care of this? Every room in a writer's house and every vehicle you own should be equipped with such a device. You could send inspirational thoughts directly to your computer so they would be waiting the next time you sat down to work on your story.

Don't know what to suggest about the exam room flashes, Lori. Even a Star Trek-like communicator would be sitting across the room with your clothes.

Thanks for a day brightener.

P.S. to Paty: Hope your Pinkerton/U.S. Marshall series gets published quickly. I'm really looking forward to reading those books! I agree with Alice and Eli about the one sentence needing to be incorporated tighter into the main plot. Also, the first two sentences about Beck could be combined into one sentence. I'm really liking your ideas on this series!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a "water writer." Used to swim laps in the morning, and it drove me NUTS to have inspiration hit at the half-mile mark. I could either count laps until I finished the mile, or I could concentrate on remembering the brilliant idea. *G*

I tried the soap crayons, but they didn't work well enough. MY usband, however, is used to shouts from the shower, and now knows to bring paper and pen when I holler. I really think only another writer would understand that, and I am grateful.

Chris York

Genene Valleau said...

Help, Eli! How do I get rid of the multiple comments? It's like being trapped in Ground Hogs' Day. Sorry all!

Alice Sharpe said...

LOL Genene. If it's worth saying once, it's worth saying three times? Too funny...

Chris, that would be the benefit of being married to another writer, though mine is trained to listen when I saw "What if--" and it sounds like Paty has got hers trained to ignore idling tractors. Btw, Paty, the tractor thing makes perfect sense as there you are driving, driving, and your mind travels down different roads.

And Chris -- last Thursday we drove through Lincoln City and I looked in every motel parking lot for your distinctive VW so I could pop in give you a celebratory hug on your awesome sale, but alas, I did not find it and after awhile, wondered if I even had the right city!!! A big cyber <<< hug >>> to you!

Alice Sharpe said...

Oh, and Lori, I agree with Genene. You seem meant to write a book on humor!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I got your back, Genene. ;) Done.

Great post, Lori. I was chuckling. Ideas hit me all the time too. The worst however is in the shower. Because invariably, I get in, get soaked and start working through a problem in my head, then the door will open and a naked male will jump in with me! How can one stay focused when that happens?!

(Ahem...get your minds out of the gutter, girls. It's always the 3 yr old , announcing, "I shower too!" Grumble, grumble. This follows with me holding the door closed crying, "Just once I'd like to be able to shower by myself!!" and him screaming, "I want in! I want in!" Alas...there go those great ideas, right down the drain...)

Alice Sharpe said...

Eli -- too funny. I went right where you led me. Maybe you and Lori should collaborate on the humor book.

Genene Valleau said...

Thank you for saving me from multiple comments, Eli! (How embarrassing!)

And you should have left our minds in the gutter -- that could have triggered even more inspirations for our stories. LOL!

Lori Barber said...

Paty, Glad I induced tears of laughter. We need it to ride through this menopause gig.

I can see you moving at full throttle on the tractor then making abrupt stops to jot down your wonderful ideas. The great outdoors also sparks my writing inspiration, but once again my hands are busy, usually elbow deep in dirt and weeds.

I love the image of soap crayons, but I'm afraid I'd run out of wall space long before my dialogue or scene ended.

Alice, I love the idea of calling your daughter. Maybe I could call myself and leave a message. I'd have to buy a cell phone and an answering machine first.

I totally hear you when you ramble to yourself hoping to reclaim a flash of brilliance born to you the night before.

Genene, Ohhh, I want that voice- activated spyware. What a must have for writers. I'll have to buy of copy of the latest Spy magazine and check it out. LOL

Chris, I love to swim too. I can see the writer's dilemma...to swim or not to swim, that is the question when a great idea surfaces.

Eli, You got me good. I had the image of a much older, taller man. LOL The shower seems to be a popular spot for writers. Maybe we should consider having a writers spa retreat. Of course we can't all get in at the same time. Someone has to run around handing out pens and note pads.

wavybrains said...

GREAT Blog Lori! I love your voice :)

Lately, I get all sorts of good ideas while nursing. Ahem. Baby no likey when I try to reach for a pen and paper.

I seem to get most of my best ideas late at night, when I'm trying to sleep. And then, I have to face the conundrum--try to remember or turn on the lamp to jot it down?

I've also been getting ideas while driving to and from school (when I should be rehearsing my lectures).

Lori Barber said...

Wavy, Thank you for the wonderful compliment. Enjoy every minute of your nursing and baby bonding time. At least it's possible to jot down your brilliant ideas and cuddle Tavy too.

Yes, those late night writing gems are a challenge. Don't you wish someone would invent a clapper for the brain? You simply clap your hands and the ideas from late last night are illuminated for you to jot down.

Paty Jager said...

Eli, I read your comment to my daughter and she said she could totally relate!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

LOL...glad I could entertain. You girls are suckers! ROFL.

Lori, my hubby will be happy to know you were imagining him as much taller. Oh! Whoops! Maybe you were imagining someone else?! (Please say it was a naked Paul Walker with me in the shower...) Bwahahahah...

I'm all over the spa retreat idea. Now that sounds PRODUCTIVE!

Paty...*sigh* I feel for your daughter. I want a padlock on my shower door.

Wavy, when I was working I got great ideas on my commute. Of course, at the time I didn't know it meant I should write them down. I just thought it meant I had an overactive imagination (Um...I do.) I didn't actually start writing those ideas down until I quit my job though to stay home with the Gremlins.