I Do My Best Writing in the Shower

October 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Interruptions, Time Management

The key to a more productive writing life, for me, may be an increase of distractions. I’m not kidding.

I can sit down in a quiet house, long hours stretched before me, all allocated beautifully (according to my DayTimer) for writing. Nothing happens. My fingers idly tap the desk. I take another sip of coffee hoping for a jolt of inspiration. Instead the blank white screen reflects my idea-vacant mind. The blinking cursor mocks me.

On the flipside, when my schedule is packed, I itch to write. It’s a physical battle not to. Blog posts, articles, book and chapter outlines dance around my head, scampering to my fingers, anxious to get out. They assault me while I wash dishes, pay bills, fold laundry and help kids with homework.

Sometimes I do my best writing in the shower. And I’m not the only one.

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” ~ Anais Nin

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” ~ Agatha Christie

“A notepad by the bedside accounts for half the earnings of my livelihood. If it weren’t for bedtime, half my novels would still be stuck at dock.” ~ Terri Guillemets

“Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life.” ~ James Norman Hall

So, what are we to do? When our hands are full (or wet), how can we capture our muse before she dissipates into another cloud of interruptions?

Here are a few ideas to try.

    • The ever-present notebook or journal : Theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1799) was known to go riding for relaxation only to return home with his coat covered in notes. His wife, Sarah, would then unpin him and organize all the scraps of paper to be ready for his next writing opportunity.
      You don’t need to litter your wardrobe with ideas, but being ready can make all the difference. I keep Post-It notes and flags in every room of my house. I also keep a small notebook in my purse and one in my car. We’ve painted an entire wall of my kitchen in chalkboard paint so that I can jot down whatever can’t wait a moment longer.


    • A Voice Recorder : These nifty handheld devices are perfect for brainstorming while driving. They’re not cheap, but they are terribly convenient and easy to use. For about $50, you could decrease a touch of your frustration over lost ideas and maybe even make the roads a little safer. (Check out this highly-rated one by Sony.) 
      If a dedicated recorder isn’t in your budget, you can still capture those thoughts with your phone. You can find dozens of voice recorder apps for your smart phone or just call yourself. I may be the only person in the civilized world who is under 60 and still does not have a smart phone. I’m okay with that … but occasionally have to call my home answering machine or my own voicemail to spew thoughts to be organized and recorded later.


  • Go Waterproof : We may not be writing while diving, but scuba gear may be just what your muse requires. Check out these great tools. Scuba Max makes a nifty under-water wrist slate. You could use it while swimming, jogging in the rain or taking your kids to a waterpark. Rite in the Rain offers several styles of waterproof journals, ideal for jotting thoughts while hiking or camping or visiting Niagra Falls. Aqua Notes (pictured above) are waterproof notepads with tear-away sheets. They even come with suction cups for easy hanging. And don’t underestimate bath crayons. They’re great for writers! They enable me to make all sorts of color-coded notes on the glass and tile walls while I shower.
Your Turn:  What are your favorite tips and tools for capturing ideas when they strike?


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