Unexpected Inspiration

Photo credit: Angele McQuade
Photo credit: Angele McQuade

While at the annual retreat of the Washington Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America this past weekend, I had a lovely conversation with some equally-lovely writer friends about those moments when inspiration zings you, when ideas come so unexpectedly you have to grab at whatever’s closest to scribble them down before they fly off again.

For me and many of my fellow writers, our muse shows up while we’re in the middle of otherwise mindless, mundane tasks like driving, doing the dishes, or taking a shower. That’s definitely true for me, and the reason I now keep a stack of note paper and a pen in a bathroom drawer.

Some writers swear by waterproof note boards or writing on tile walls with crayon. I’ve tried dry-erase markers–both on tile and on the bathroom mirror–but it turns out steam is not exactly friendly to that type of ink. So now I depend on the humble, practically-timeless combination of pen and paper whenever a spark of an idea hits.

Of course, I have to actually jump out of the shower to write those notes, and that’s exactly what I did the morning after the retreat, when I’d just barely rinsed the shampoo out of my hair when idea after idea for the young adult mystery I’m revising slammed into my head.

Trust me when I say it’s tough to write notes when your hands are soaked and water’s running down your arms and right onto your paper. As you may be able to tell from this picture, my counter ended up completely soaked and my notes did, too, but all that mattered was that I could read them.

You may also notice that photo’s pretty blurry; I did that on purpose to save you all from spoilers. I am writing a mystery, after all. Someday, I promise, you’ll thank me.

Just like I’m keep thanking my personal shower muses for some many, many¬† new ideas, water-logged or not.