Monday, August 20, 2012

Writing Whispers


The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.  
Agatha Christie
The Scullery Maid by Guiseppe Maria Crespi

Or... hanging the washing, or driving the kids to school, or mopping the bathroom floor. 
Wonderful ideas have a habit of arriving when we're up to our elbows in dish water or at the traffic lights. This is when a little preparation allows the capture of inspiration. So what do you do when you don't have your trusty writer's notepad beside you?
1. Scratch it down. If it means stepping away from the sink for a moment and scribbling an idea onto a scrap of paper, it's worth it. Don't let your inspiration disappear like the wash water down the drain. Write your thoughts on the steamy window with a wet finger if you must. Just get it down. And don't forget to re-write in your notebook before you clean the window!
2. Store it away. This has become a daily habit for me now. If you're on a long walk and all you have is your phone tucked in your pocket, don't be afraid to stop and send yourself a message. Speak it into the recorded memo function. Send your best friend a text and tell them to resend your garbled words back to you. They know you're a bit of a nutter. They won't mind!
3. Pray it won't fade away. If you really can't stop to write something or record your own voice, (when you're on the freeway or in church) commit your thoughts to the One who inspires them in the first place. Tell Him your idea and ask Him to return it to you at the right time. 

As for me... I'm on a plane today. Winging my way back from a quick trip to Bangkok with my Beloved. I know I'll be inspired by the people around me in airport lounges. I can't help it. It's the sticky beak in me. 

Good thing I've plenty of time to ponder my next book idea, and talk about it with the Giver of all inspiration. Because I think an airplane is just as good as a kitchen sink for deep thinking. Maybe even better. 

How about you? Where have you found yourself with a head full of inspiration? How do you capture the writing whispers?

*****

Dorothy Adamek lives at Crabapple House with her Beloved, their three teenagers and five pampered backyard chickens. She writes historical romance, Aussie style. Follow her love of all thing yesteryear at Ink Dots. 

18 comments:

  1. We are a funny lot aren't we? I hope you get some great ideas on that flight, Dottie. I'm a scrap o' paper girl myself. Sometimes I have to think awhile on what I've scribbled until it finally makes sense. But even if you can't use the idea in the book you're currently writing, maybe it'll work in the next. Like the scraps of material quilters use.

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    1. I like the image of a scrap quilt, Rita. I think many of our books come to life much the same way. :)

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  2. A few years ago, I did a weeklong writing course at the NSW Writers' Centre called 'Catch the Whisper'. It was the most wonderful course for me--we had a short time of input about writing each morning and were led along a particular writing theme, but then we agreed to be silent for the rest of the day and continue writing on that theme. And we were also encouraged to listen to some occasional phrases our course teacher would speak out softly to the group and try to incorporate at least one of them into our writing. It kind of opened my mind up to think more laterally than I normally would--I found it so inspiring and energising. And now, after all those years, a large part of what I wrote that week has found its way into my sixth novel, due out next year!

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    1. Hi Jo-Anne, I like the sound of that writing course. Especially the afternoons of silence, just writing and those 'whispers.' What a bunch of delicious days!

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  3. I'm a pencil and paper girl. I often get ideas for a scene or chapter while I'm listening to a speaker, or reading a book - novel or devotional - or sometimes when, like Agatha Christie, when I'm doing something mundane like housework. I grab my notebook and jot down ideas because like dreams, they can fade away and be hard to retrieve. The brain is a wonderful thing, but not entirely in our conscious control.

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    1. So true, Carol! I have a number of notebooks too, although lately I've been using my phone to keep a list of thoughts. I like to read through some old ideas I'd forgotten about. Sometimes I don't even remember where the thought came from, but I'm glad it's there for me to prod into something more. :)

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  4. Hope you had a wonderful trip back with your beloved, Dotti. Interesting post!

    I have several notebooks filled with writing ideas and always carry one in my bag. Am known to stop while I am walking on the road or navigating aisles in the supermarket ... while I jot down a few ideas. Who cares if people around me give me 'looks' or think I am crazy!

    So yep! You are right. Those ideas do strike at unexpected moments don't they? I guess all of life is our inspiration. And what a grand life it is!
    Thanks Dotti,
    Blessings,
    Anusha

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  5. Hi Dotti,
    This is an ironic blog post for me, coming today. I've just found out our new landlords don't like the fact that we've put in our dishwasher, even though there was a spot and it does nothing to the integrity of our house, and have sent a message via the real estate agent demanding that we remove it.
    Like others who have commented, I like to keep a notebook and jot ideas into it by hand. I have one for each novel and one for blog posts.
    I'm glad you had a wonderful time in Bangkok.

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    1. Oh dear... I am sorry about the dishwasher! Seems a bit mean spirited to not allow it when it's your own and there's a spot right there for it :(
      I hope the compensation is a load of wonderful inspiration at the kitchen sink :)

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  6. Mine often come in the middle of the night which is why I have a notebook and pen next to the bed. I usually don't bother to turn on the light though so sometimes reading it in the morning makes for interesting reading.Often the start of a poem is composed while walking with and talking to my husband. Just as well we women can multi task. I keep repeating the lines in my head till I get home then write them down.

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    1. That's funny Dale.. about writing in the dark. My daughter works at KiKiK... stationary store. They sell a notebook with the title 3AM. It's for putting beside your bed for moments just like yours when inspiration hits when you might normally be asleep. You obviously don't need one from KiKiK. You don't even need a light!! :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karen. Hope you're having fun with that baby doll of yours today! :)

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  8. I don't seem to have trouble remembering ideas that come to me. Ideas become pictures in my mind and then recalling them is almost like recalling a fond memory. Even if I do write them down, I rarely need to look at my notes. (I've never been much of a note-taker in church or school either.)

    Most of my ideas come when I'm driving or doing housework. I wonder if anyone hears or takes notice in the moments when I whisper "oh yes."

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  9. Yes, driving is the best time for me too! I listen to a lot of podcasts when cleaning the house (reward system!) but driving seems to get the creativity moving for me too. Especially long drives to PI ;)

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  10. What is it about driving??? Long car trips seem to be good for me too. As much as I loathe them, time spent in the car kicks my imagination into gear.

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    1. Hi Rose, I think it's the winding roads which help our minds unwind with wonderful possibilities and ideas!

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