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'?