April Showers Bring May …

The usual answer is “flowers,” of course. But up here in the Pacific Northwest, April showers means I stay inside and keep busy writing before the May sunshine makes all of the weeds in my yard go nuts and require hours of pulling to remove them.

I used to try to work on scenes and plots for my books while weeding, but time and again I got lost in the weeds. Hours would go by with me focused on who knows what—everything but my story. I’ve always been envious of writers who gardened in order to clear their mind to write. In the end, after hours in the dirt, the only thing I end up with is an aching back and sore hands.

I have much better luck plotting and brainstorming while driving. I’m not talking quick trips to the store, rather hours-long road trips with my favorite songs playing on the stereo. I prefer having an ear to bend, and my poor husband will attest to that, but I’ll talk to myself, if needed. There is something about staring at the asphalt for hour after hour that makes my creativity come out to play. Unfortunately, it’s kind of tough to take notes in the midst of driving. Again, my husband helps out (you can see why I thank him first in the Acknowledgement section in each of my books).

Some authors need charts and white boards to plot, other need note cards or Post-it notes. I once had to add a couple of scenes to a story, so I wrote each scene on a Post-it note and stuck them in order on a movie poster frame. Then I analyzed where I could add the scenes, which other scenes would experience a ripple effect, and which scenes didn’t need to be touched. It made what initially seemed like a confusing task seem like something I could wrap my brain around and accomplish without a problem. I still have that movie poster frame with the Post-it notes still stuck to it. I plan to put it in the office I will have someday, along with the cool awards that book won.

There are hundreds of books and workshops designed to help authors find ways to tap into their creative brains. Newer authors are often happy to shell out money to learn about how to mine their heads for great stories. The problem is that we’re all snowflakes (or maybe I should say we’re all melted snowflakes, since it is April showers time). We each have to find what works for our brains, what spurs our internal storytellers, and it’s not the same for any of us.

So tell me, while April brings showers down upon most of us, what is it that spurs your creative flowers?

Happy April,
Ann

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5 responses to “April Showers Bring May …

  1. A hot shower does it for me every time. Good thing I take them not just in April!
    eden

  2. With me, it’s the driving. Or the grocery shopping. Something about push a cart around the store. Gardening works sometimes, but more often than not, I’m distracted by the birds and the cats and the flowers and the sky and…you get the picture.

    I have worked some mighty plot issues out in bubble baths over the years, too. Especially if I listen to music and sip a glass of wine while I’m in there.

    Lisa

  3. There is something about the shower that spurs the imagination. I also seem to work on story ideas and story development in my sleep. I think the promise of
    warm days makes everyone feel better, which in return encourages the growth of flowers and a more fertile imagination.
    Wally ;)

  4. Like Wally, I can’t begin to tell you how many story lines I’ve worked on in my sleep. However, I’ve learned if I don’t want those 3:00 – 4:00 am churns to be wasted, I have to get up and jot something down. While some of those notes have turned out to be gibberish—I really think we dream in a different language, certainly a different system of logic–I’ve saved many a plot line, resolved many conflicts and tied many a loose connection.

    For me, like Ann, gardening tends to be just gardening. I won’t say what showers turn out to be. ;)

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