Monday, March 18, 2013

Shower Talk: Ways to Save Your Ideas From the Drain

By Stacy S. Jensen


Story ideas often arrive in the shower. How do you save them?

I never realized how important the shower is for writing until I became a mother.  As a mom, it's the one place I'm guaranteed to be alone. 

Sure, I had ideas in the shower before my kiddo arrived in my life. Then and now, I hear many writers struggle with how to capture those ideas.

For a more traditional note taking experience in the shower, there are a number of waterproof notebooks and notepads on the market for $10 or less to save your ideas.

Writers can take a tip from scuba divers and use a "scuba slate" to write notes in the shower. I've found some for under $6.

When I became a parent, I discovered bath time markers and crayons. It may not be a sophisticated way to save ideas, but it would "hold that thought" until you can type it up.

While it's a neat idea to jot down a note on the shower door, I'm not excited about cleanup. So, I do a hybrid method of a non-waterproof notepad outside the shower or an iPhone. I’ll admit I do a lot of “repeating” to myself before I can write it down.  

Ideas aren't exclusive to showers. I've heard many writers share how they hash out story details on morning runs, over a cup of coffee, or on a walk. As writers, it's fun to be alone with ideas and flesh them out.

How do you take notes from those “shower moments” or when you're out and about?


About the Author: Stacy S.Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and toddler.

23 comments:

  1. I usually have my best ideas when I'm out for a jog or hiking, but I've heard others say they have their great ideas in the shower. There must be something about relaxing and focusing on the physical that loosens the muse.

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    1. Hikes are wonderful for ideas. I found the shower to be an idea place when I became a parent. Suddenly, it was the only place I was by myself.

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  2. I sometimes leave a pad on the bathroom sink, and reach out to write. For non-shower brainstorms, I keep a pad with me wherever I go--on walks, in the car, etc.

    ~Debbie

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  3. I am not always well prepared, but will grab a scrap, napkin, an envelope, some skin, to jot notes.

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  4. I find inspiration in the shower, too.

    Perhaps I am a complete ignoramus, but I had no idea there were waterproof notebooks. I'm getting one. Thanks for the tip!

    My mind is most fertile, however, in bed, in the moments before I fall asleep. So I still need to find a notepad that allows me to write something down without opening my eyes.

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    1. Yes notepads are good near the bed. I use my iPhone most of the time. At night, I'm finding I need some time away from the screens.

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  5. A shower slate! Sounds funny, but genius. I often get ideas while driving. If someone is in the car with me I ask them to jot it down, otherwise I wait until I can text myself. :)

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  6. I have my best ideas in the shower, and often, unloading the dishwasher. Just doing an everyday task. I once heard an author explain how the rhythm and repetition is what opens us up to ideas. Rather than jot it down, I explore it in my mind for as long as I can until it demands to be written. I literally "hold that thought". Because so many of my thoughts are fleeting, I usually give energy to the ones that stick.

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    1. That's a great idea to explore it more "until it demands to be written."

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  7. I remembered I should have mentioned the only place I was alone when raising children was in the shower, too. Maybe that's where my first comfort came and grew. Thanks for more shower power.

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    1. Tam, What a wonderful post I found on your blog Shower Power!

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  8. Shower's a good place for me. I got my iPhone ready nearby (somewhere where it stays dry) and if I get a Great Idea I just switch off the shower, dry one of my hands and type the Great Idea into my Things app (the greatest app I ever purchased). This may sound complicated, but trust me: if the Idea is good, it's worth switching off the shower. That also keeps me from writing every stupid idea down; I only make the effort if I'm convinced it's worth it.

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    1. M.H. Good point about taking the time to try off for an idea worth "switching off the shower."

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  9. I'm usually hit with ideas (some great, some not) just as I'm drifting off to sleep or when I'm just waking up. I'll get up and write them down.
    Great post, Stacy! :-)

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    1. Tracy, I often repeat, repeat and repeat hoping I'll remember in the morning.

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  10. I have one of those aqua pads in my shower. Most of my ideas, though, I record the old fashioned way: scribbling them down on paper or typing them out onto a Word doc.

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    1. Beth, that made me giggle to think "typing them out onto a Word doc" is old fashioned.

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  11. I use scrap paper (ripped in 1/4 size) and keep a drawer of it in my desk. Whenever I have an idea I write it down. I have memo size notebook and pen in my car. Always pen and paper in my bag. I don't get ideas in the shower, but I get them on walks, during/after meditation. This is a good post for us think about capturing our ideas. Thanks!!

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    1. Scrap paper is always useful as well as walks and meditation.

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  12. I don't know what it is about the shower, but it sure is a good place to go for ideas. I don't have a good system... if I think of something I just say it over and over to myself until I can write it down :)

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