Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow

You never know where you will be when inspiration strikes.  Driving down the freeway during rush hour? Trying to sleep in the middle of the night?  Cooking dinner?  The trick is to consciously put yourself into situations that are most likely to stimulate your creativity and then be able to capture your thoughts when it does.

I blogged Monday on writers’ spaces — the places in which we are creative.   My preferred writing spots are my bed in a nest of pillows, in front of the fireplace, and in my office. I love to write when I travel, too.  New spaces do it for me.  The key for me is to keep moving around to keep the words flowing.  Sometimes, no matter how much I move, the well of words dries up.  I have learned that the most useful thing for me to do then is to exercise.

When I bicycle, swim, or run, my tension eases.  As my tension eases, my mind empties and makes room for new ideas to form.  Before I consciously realize the process has even begun, it begins to refill itself.  The problem is how to capture these new ideas that occur when I am bicycling at 23 miles per hour?

This dilemma used to be a roadblock to me.  It is not anymore.  A few months ago I got a new Iphone, and it has a Voice Memo app on it that allows me to voice record and email the audio file to myself.  Holy cow!  I have my Iphone with me at all times, anyway.  It fits in the bento bag on the frame of my bicycle.  I can leave it in my swim bag on the side of the pool.  I can run with it in my fuel belt.  It’s right at hand when I’m driving (no typing required).

Recently, my husband and I were doing a four hour ride at Brazos Bend state park outside Houston.   That’s him in the picture above, and no he doesn’t have any available siblings.   When we arrived, Twilight Zone by Golden Earring was playing.  I had just finished my favorite energy drink, a Lo-Carb Monster.  As we pedaled along, we passed four deer on our right.  There were yellow wildflowers on both sides of the road.  On our left a seven foot alligator sunned in the shallows of an algae-covered pond (I’ve circled him in the picture behind and to the left of my husband).  About halfway through this beautiful, mind-freeing ride, my brain bombarded me with ideas for improvement and completion of my novel Going for Kona.  I slowed down to talk them through with my husband.  His questions generated more ideas.

I pulled out my Iphone.  I had inspiration not just for my book, but for my blog.  Three clicks later, without even pulling over, I had captured them.  I also emailed them to myself.  Technically I could have just replayed them later on my Iphone, but my personal system of writing organization requires saving ideas captured in email in my Writing subfolder.

Turn down your speakers and listen if you dare — keep in mind that the heavy breathing is from bicycling, not anything more fun (oops, I say the word “ass” in this file, too, I’m sorry):

Note to Self on Going for Kona 3-26-10

This is what works for me.  The music fed the biking which fed the writing.  Bonus round: later we added Twilight Zone to our playlist (Eric on bass, and me on piano and vocals = half an 80’s rock band).

Where do you find yourself most inspired?  How do you capture your ideas when they occur at inopportune life moments?


p.s. Extra points for naming the song and band in the title lyric drop.




6 Responses to “Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow”
  1. Great ideas! I’m very backward, using notes everywhere, but then I’m terribly disorganized with them. I also use word files. Lately I’ve been thinking of a voice recorder. But iphone? Would you believe I’d never thought of it. Thanks!

    • Pamela says:

      I was driving at 4 am through New Mexico on our way to Christmas in Angel Fire, with a car full of sleeping humans. It was so dark, quiet, and peaceful that ideas kept jumping into my head. I used to email notes to myself on the iPhone. I was feeling desperate, because there was no way I was going to type while driving 80 mph in the dark with a 35 mph cross wind! I was looking at the iPhone and saw the Voice Memo feature and tried it out. Eureka! It was awesome. Of course, I had to whisper so as not to wake the sleepers 😉 but otherwise it worked great.

  2. Christina says:

    I have to carry paper and a pen with me everywhere! I think when I upgrade my phone it will become more common for me to use it but I have a dinosaur and Verizon won’t let me upgrade til next month 🙂

  3. Eric says:

    I am not smart enough to use an IPHONE. I write on everything, scraps of paper, post it notes, back of envelopes and then toss it all in a file, then once in a while I get the file out and transfer everything to an excell or word doc. But, I am not a creative person, I do this for my enginering design work. similar to writing though, most of my ideas come at the least opportune times to jot them down. And how about those low carb monsters!

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