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Waterproof ideas and how to avoid running wet and naked through your home

July 7, 2011

If there is one lesson to be learnt from this entry, it may be that muses don’t mind getting wet with you, but they do mind having to work when they’re just trying to take a nice shower.

I tend to have quality time with my muses in the shower like Jami Gold does. Perhaps it is because my head is not busy with anything else and the most interesting thing for me to do is trying to decipher the Finnish text on the shampoo bottles that makes creativity flow freely then. Whatever the reason, I have small conferences with my main characters and mull over new ideas while I am in the bath. Sometimes I will rush through the flat in only a towel to write down a dialogue or a plot twist or an idea for a piece of short fiction.

Some time ago, I discovered one fabulous invention. It would help me creatively and go well with the way I already work. A waterproof notepad (and I have Jami Gold to thank for the link). How brilliant is that? I got one, put it up in the shower and looked forward to writing if not the first draft of a masterpiece, then at least a couple of funny little ideas.
Then the idea backfired. I didn’t get anything. I was standing there, and … nothing happened. All right, I thought, I don’t get an idea every single time I shower. It just happens very often. So I waited. Several showers later, however, I still hadn’t gotten anything.

But why? I tend to get ideas that really, really need writing down when I am busy with something else. Is that simply how creativity is? I generally don’t sit around and wait for inspiration to hit me. I’m usually working on something, several things at the time. But the showerly conferences somehow changed from inspiration to smalltalk.
So what happened really? I don’t think the notepad is an evil idea-sucking entity. I believe that one or several of the following things happened: I don’t get ideas every time I shower, but the presence of the notepad makes me think that I should. I get a bit of stage fright because now I can write down my ideas right away, so I pay too much attention to whether I’m getting ideas to actually get them. My muses work at their own pace – no notepad is going to dictate to them when to tell me a story (They still do. Just not so much in the shower).

Am I going to get rid of the notepad? No. It’s a nice notepad, and I like the idea of being able to write things down in the shower. And I have a feeling that once I’m used to the presence of it, I’ll get back to my normal ideas-in-the-shower routine. But we will see.

Have you ever done something to help your creativity that turned out to backfire? Do you get ideas in the shower? And do you have any experience with waterproof paper?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2011 7:59 pm

    Oh, that crazy muse of yours! I’m sorry the notepad has caused issues with your suddenly shy muse. I put my notepad in the corner of my shower, so it’s not front and center. And I don’t think I used it for the first month either. But after a month or so, you get used to it being there and the ideas come back. 🙂

    For me, they’re usually not shiny, new plot ideas (that’s a good thing – I get enough of those all the time as it is). They’re usually some tweak or new point I want to make in a WIP or not-yet-published blog post. (I write my blog posts the night before, and I’ll often take a shower right after I schedule them. Then I think of changes I want to make and finish my tweaks before going to bed. 🙂 )

    Don’t worry, the pad’s not there to pressure you. It’s a tool, not a guilt-inducer. 🙂


    • July 7, 2011 8:09 pm

      Thank you for the comment and the encouragement, Jami! 🙂
      My muses aren’t normally shy (after all, they shower with me ;)). They just like to do things their way.
      I didn’t think of it as a pressure, but somehow the awareness that now was a good time to get ideas must have caused me to focus on the conscious instead of the subconscious part which is where these things really come from normally. So I’m sure you’re right. As soon as I start thinking about the presence, it won’t have an effect (well apart from the obvious, which is to be able to write down the ideas).
      Anyway, my flatmate and I are having a very absurd/surreal ongoing conversation on the notepad, so I’m still enjoying it. 🙂


      • July 7, 2011 9:02 pm

        Just what you needed. Another form of performance anxiety.


        • July 7, 2011 10:49 pm

          Haha, yeah, XD I’m sure it will pass, but it’s a bit silly.
          Thank you for the comment! 🙂


  2. Maggie permalink
    July 7, 2011 8:30 pm

    That’s like whenever I forget to bring my notebook somewhere, I get all these awesome ideas and can’t write them down. But when I actually remember to bring my notebook, the ideas won’t come.

    The muse is quite fickle. 🙂


    • July 7, 2011 11:20 pm

      Oh yes, that’s a classic! Then you end up writing on napkins or receipts (at least that’s happened to me).
      Thank you for the comment! 🙂


  3. July 7, 2011 11:20 pm

    Great post, I am exactly the same with my main characters. I don’t have a waterproof notepad, but I do use the shower time to zone out a bit and get to know my characters as if they were real friends of mine. I used to keep a notepad by my bed though, but then it prevented me from getting to sleep so I had to stop. In the end I’ve had to train my self to get into the flow quickly so I can get down the ideas when I’m at the computer into OneNote and then when I’m away from the laptop I treat it as sub conscious filling time to be with my characters and learn the story through their words as if I were getting to know someone for real. I find I am able to remember these new revelations better because it comes with a vivid memory of discovery as pieces fit together in ways I hadn’t noticed before.

    However, I know us writers can be very different, there is a huge spectrum of us, but I’m confident your muses will come back when they are ready, they always do. A writer is someone who cannot help but write and the muses are essential to that 😉


    • July 7, 2011 11:28 pm

      I always find it fascinating to hear how these things work for other writers. It’s amazing how many of us use showers and the like as little creative breaks. I learn the stories through my characters as well. I never “sit down and think up a story”. It’s much more intuitive and character-bound than that for me.
      Don’t worry, though, my muses haven’t left altogether. I’m in daily contact with them.
      Oh, and that last line, I like that a lot! 🙂
      – And great to see you here! Thank you for sharing. 🙂


  4. July 10, 2011 9:28 pm

    You know, I have the same issue when I pack a little note book in my purse. Normally when I’m out and about, ideas abound, but carrying a notebook with me seems to be a ward against ideas. But it’s okay, because the muse does still come when I call and when I need her.


    • July 12, 2011 1:33 pm

      Glad it’s not just me! It’s a little bit like how it never rains when I bring an umbrella …
      I agree. Mine come too when I call, so I”m not upset with them. 🙂
      Thank you for commenting!


  5. July 12, 2011 4:20 pm

    The universe is a fickly, spiteful entity! 😉 I love the idea of the shower notebook, but I know I would end up using it for reminder notes like “Don’t forget to bring your lunch!” Actually, I tend to keep a dry-erase marker in the bathroom and write on the mirror when I need reminders like that. But I also don’t tend to get a lot of ideas in the shower. I am more likely to be hit with a good idea in the car or while exercising. And because I generally write about language and haven’t tried my hand at fiction in a long time, I will be struck by something I overhear in a store or during a conversation (and especially boring conversations since that’s when my mind wanders! 😉 )

    Fun post!


    • July 12, 2011 4:20 pm

      It’s so fickle that it made me type fickly!


    • July 14, 2011 7:43 pm

      Thank you or the input! Huh, a marker for the mirror, I hadn’t thought of that.
      Fiction writers often get ideas from conversations I think. At least, I can relate to it. Perhaps it’s my amateur-linguist (or “having only studied linguistics as part of my course on phonetics/grammar”) personality speaking. 😉


  6. July 15, 2011 2:54 am

    I love the idea of the waterproof notepad. At first, I thought you were joking!

    If I’d have to guess, I’d say that having the notepad just draws attention to the showers that aren’t idea producers. I think you’re right to just give it time.

    Looking forward to the first ever manuscript written entirely in the shower 🙂


    • July 15, 2011 9:00 pm

      Yes, I agree that it draws attention to non-creative showers, so I’ll wait and see. Thank you for your comment!

      And is that a challenge? 😉 I don’t think I’d be able to write an entire manuscript on that notepad, though. But maybe a piece of flash fiction someday.


  7. August 3, 2011 12:30 am

    I saw one of those notepads at a store recently. Didn’t get it though because I usually get inspired while in the dark sleeping (messy scratches of notes on notepad by my bed), or on the elliptical (just try to write while you are on one of those. If you stop, they delete your workout!).


    • August 6, 2011 9:50 am

      Thank you for commenting! 🙂
      I get ideas in the middle of the night too. On the elliptical, I have had ideas, but they’re usually more of a “developing ideas that are already there” kind, so I tend to remember them. Luckily. The same goes for other kinds of workout for me.


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