Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Those Lightbulb Moments

Last weekend, I took a road trip. Yeah, five hours in the car ALONE. My daughter headed back to college and she got a new television for Christmas that she couldn't haul in her tiny car so I loaded it in mine and followed her. At first, I dreaded all that driving ALONE. I'd be bored out of my mind, right?

As it turns out it wasn't all that bad. Now, I'll be the first to admit there's not a whole lot to look at in the South Plains of Texas. It's flat, arrid, lots of buttes, plateaus, miles and miles of barren cotton fields (it's winter, after all). Anyway, you get the drift. I was prepared for a real yawner of a drive but it sure didn't turn out that way. Why is it that some of my best story ideas occur when I'm driving? I'd been stumped on a story I'm writing for the Cougar Challenge series at EC. Drilled is the story of a 40-something woman who returns to her tiny Texas hometown a couple of years after a painful divorce. There she hooks up with a 30-something guy who is drilling for oil on her property. My goal was (and still is) to finish this up sometime this month but I was stalled. The last time I'd checked, the hero had the heroine pressed against a wall with his hand on her breast. That was it. The poor guys hand was probably going numb or something because they were in that position for well over a week and I just couldn't get the dude moving. Something wasn't right but I didn't know what!

So I'm on the road, right? My favorite music is playing from my IPOD and the scenery is just a lot of miles and miles of nothing. Then it happened. Inspiration. As I jammed to the music, words, phrases, action all rolled through my mind like a gift that had just been unwrapped and I figured out how to get my heroes hand unstuck from the heroines boob. Now I can't credit the spectacular scenery for this breakthrough. The solitude had a whole lot to do with it. I've also learned lately that sometimes just sitting in my backyard on a quiet night or early morning will do the trick. So I guess I'm just figuring out that being alone with no distractions helps my brain funtion better and gets the creative energy flowing. Now you'll think I'm crazy but often just the act of doing something boring and repetitious will inspire me or get me over a writing hump. One of my favorite household chores to do during writing breaks it folding clothes. If I hit a minor snag, I get up and fold clothes and usually my brain kicks in and I figure out how to get 'unstuck'.

Some friends have those lightbulb moments in shower or after they've gone to bed and slept for a few hours. Some are inspired during long walks. Where do you find you have those 'lightbulb moments'?

23 comments:

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Road trips are amazing for 'light bulb moments'! A road trip or a hike or a trip by plane, will often do it for me. Just time to reflect, I guess. Got you on my blog today, girl!

Kelley Nyrae said...

Love when I have those moments. I can have them anywhere. I get them a lot while laying in bed and thinking at night.

Hales said...

Mine are the shower. I have one of those old school dry erase type boards but the pen is the grease one so it doesn't run. I think it's the hot water clearing my mind lol or being able to relax, although it doesn't happen in the tub...I just fall asleep there!

Shayla Kersten said...

Driving has always been good for lightbulb moments! And sometimes the scenery provides inspiration. I'm working on a short story about a hermit backwoodsman. The inspiration came from fresh purple paint on trees along a stretch of highway. Purple paint around here is another way of posting no trespassing signs. Amazing how the mind works.

Great blog, Regina!

Anny Cook said...

Light bulb moments happen everywhere. Congrats!

Cassidy McKay said...

Great story!

I get my lightbulb moments while driving, too. My family is well used to grabbing a pen and a pizza box or tissue box or scrap piece of paper and writing things down. Just a word or two sometimes to remind me of that 'AHA!' moment.

It's pretty funny to see them scramble.

Regina Carlysle said...

REALLY, JULIA??? Okay, heading over that way now. And yes, traveling does it for me too. Maybe it's because I HATE traveling so much that my mind takes it's own little trip.

Regina Carlysle said...

I do that too, Kell. Think it's the QUIET??? We don't get enough of that and I just can't concentrate with lots of chaos.

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh Hales! That's hysterical. I'm trying to picture the expression on someones face if they came into your bathroom and saw that board on your shower wall!!!! Funny. But hey...we have to utilize what works.

Regina Carlysle said...

Thanks, Shayla. You must be like me with that. It's really a shame I hate traveling so much. No tellin' HOW many new books I'd get out there. It happens with me on short-term drives too and I'd be puttering around town and BAM...lightbulb moment. By the time I'd get back home it would just disappear, kind of like our dreams do sometimes. I started carrying a cheap little tape recorder and that helped. I could pull up at a stoplight and whip out the recorder. Don't have it anymore. Think one of my kids copped it.

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh thanks good, Cassidy! You can obviously think in a crowd. LOL. I can't. HA. That's the whole problem for me, lack of concentration. But it's good you have people jotting down stuff.

Titania Ladley said...

Hey, girl, I think we must be sisters. I get some of my biggest light-bulb moments while driving (although I need the music off when it pops) or while doing mundane housework, too. I think the ho-hum of these tasks can be similar to meditation where you unlock certain creative areas of your brain. I plan to get a recorder of some kind to take with me when I'm driving, cuz, um, that can get kinda dangerous trying to jot down notes while zooming 80mph up the freeway. :D

Titania

Laurann Dohner said...

I suffer from insomnia so I get my best ideas when I'm laying very still, trying to relax enough to fall asleep. I curl up to the hubby and just lay there, eyes shut, trying to blank that mind... and here come story ideas. I'll run them in my head until I fall sleep. On a funny note that someone pointed out to me... the fact of where I get my ideas, cuddled up to a naked guy... might be why I write erotic romance. LOL!!!

Regina Carlysle said...

Titania! I highly recommend an inexpensive little tape recorder. Radio Shack has some pretty cheap ones and they serve the purpose!

Regina Carlysle said...

HA. Cuddled up to a nekkid guy could do it alright!!! snicker. You crack me up, Laurann.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hey Titania! Meant to ask you...are you coming to Romanticon this year? I sure hope so. I'd love to hang out.

Titania Ladley said...

Heya! Have it on my *tentative* schedule for now. I'll know for sure once we get into the summer-ish months. Squeee, I'm really looking forward to it!

Titania

Regina Carlysle said...

YAY!!! Glad to hear that! I swear, it was such a blast I know I'd never want to miss it. We will hang out for SURE!!!

Amber Skyze said...

Road trips are definitely where I have my light bulb moments. I travel a lot so I enjoy that time. Also doing mindless stuff like housework - yuck! :)

RING said...

一個人的際遇在第一次總是最深刻的,有時候甚至會讓人的心變成永遠的絕緣。.........................

jean hart stewart said...

Mine almost always come at night. I wake up between 2 and 4 and there's the solution....sometimes I concentrate and hoping for an answer just before I go to sleep, but sometimes it comes out of the blue. To each his own, right?

Adele Dubois said...

My best ideas come first thing in the morning when I'm just waking up. I solve a lot of plot points in that twilight between waking and sleeping. I write my ideas down on a tablet in my nighttable and then get right to work on my story while I drink my morning coffee.

Enjoyed your post, Regina!

Best--Adele

Anne Rainey said...

funny you should blog about this. I just had a 'lightbulb' moment last night, at about 3:30am. LOL. Mine always come at night, not sure why that is.