“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” ― Agatha Christie, detective novelist and playwright
When your present mind is at rest, like when you are doing something routine using muscle memory, your creative mind comes up with the best ideas.
How many times have you been folding laundry or tidying up or dusting or doing anything that you simply do without thinking about it, and:
- The best ideas pop into your head
- Dialogue between characters plays out
- The solution to a problem magically comes in focus
Give yourself time to let your mind wander in your day instead of putting so much pressure on your ideas and writing time. Be open to the fact that the best ideas may come to you when you least expect them, so be ready. Explore your mind regularly and find ways to capture these ideas.
In a similar way sometimes when we’re talking to others we tell them the story perfectly, or when we’re sleeping we dream the story in a way that it simply flows.
It’s times like these that we wish we could have a wireless connection to our brains that automatically records these great episodes of storytelling. Because often when we go to write it down later it’s just not the same.
Invent some ways to help you capture your great storytelling in the moment, like:
- Turning on your phone’s voice recorder when you start talking about the story to others (maybe with their permission — you might even get some great bits of feedback).
- Keeping a pad of sticky notes beside your bed and jotting down thoughts as they pop up.
- If you feel the surge of a story starting to form while you’re drying the dishes, put on your headphones and call yourself, leaving a detailed message you can come back to later.
We’ve found some crazily scratched writing on sticky notes in the morning and confess, not all of them made sense.
But the ones that did inevitably added direction or depth, or decidedly lifted a writer’s block to move the story along.
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby
What works for you to capture times of brilliant storytelling?0