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?