I get my best ideas in the shower.
There I am, fingers working the shampoo suds in my hair, and it’s like that elusive lightbulb goes off in my head.
Blog post ideas, brainstorms for client work, people I need to connect with, and words… the best, best words. In the only 15 minutes of the day when I don’t have access to a pen, the ideas just rattle off.
The muse speaks.
Sometimes, I listen. Holding desperately onto the inspiration, I rinse off, throw on a towel and, still dripping, race to my favorite notebook or my open laptop and let the ideas spill from my fingers. Words, sentences, whole paragraphs, I let them all rush out and onto the page.
But, most of the time, I argue with my muse. I mean, she has the worst timing, am-I-right? Not only do I need to dry off and get dressed, but there’s a to-do list a mile long waiting for me when I get out of the shower. I’ve got shit to do. She can wait.
I mean, surely the ideas will be there when I’m ready to write them down...
A couple of evenings ago, as I stood in the shower after a sweat-sesh in the gym downstairs, my muse showed up. This time, she didn’t speak in staccato phrases or individual words. She laid out an entire blog post for me, weaving a story as I rubbed soap between my fingers and hand-picking phrases as I rinsed out the conditioner. She highlighted the quotes that had been rattling around in my brain and presented them as a gift right at my feet. When my dripping toes hit the shower mat and I wrapped my towel around me, I knew that I had been given something special.
But, stubborn as I am… I didn’t listen. I told myself that the story would be there when I sat down at my desk in the morning. Now, I told my muse, it was time to make dinner and get the kitchen in order. The story would wait. I replayed the basic plot line in my head, convincing myself that it would all come back to me in the morning. The story would wait.
Except, it didn’t. When I sat down at my desk in the morning, it was all gone. No flow, no finesse, just a smattering of words left to pick up and attempt to put together.
The muse had left the building.
Here’s the deal with creativity, particularly with writing (which just so happens to be my jam).
There are three times that you have to create:
- When you want to create. You’ve created the space, the time, and a ritual for creativity. You’re ready. It’s a pleasure.
- When you have to sit your butt in the chair and force yourself to create. You block out 30 minutes or an hour and squeeze all of the words that you can out onto that page. It’s a pain in your ass, but it’s a practice.
- When the muse speaks. You sit down, shut up, put your pen to paper and let her do the rest. It’s magic.
It might be gold, or it might be garbage. But the magic only occurs when pleasure meets practice.
As for me, I’ve carved out the time, the space, the ritual, and I sit my butt down in the chair and put pen to paper, whether I feel it or not.
Now, I just have to sit down, shut up, and listen to the muse when she speaks.
And, when in doubt, take a shower.