Bathroom Centipede Distraction! and Other Random Instant Inspirations

note reads: "bathroom centipede distraction"

I could say this makes sense in context, but that would be a lie.

You know you’re a writer when you wake up in the middle of the night with a the perfect idea for your story. It fixes the plot hole in chapter 3, it gives character X the right motivation to get involved with character Y, it’s the hidden gem that expounds the theme, raises the stakes and incites the conflict all in one beautiful swoop. Or maybe it isn’t really the panacea you want it to be, but it’s a damned good idea and you will definitely remember it tomorrow morning.

Hahaha! If only. Nine times out of ten*, you won’t.

The only way to be 100% sure that brilliant, unconscious breakthrough manages to last through your next REM cycle is to jot that sucker down. This is how the memo above came to be. (And if you aren’t sure about the 1AM scrawl, yes, it does say “bathroom centipede distraction”)

According to literary legend, Truman Capote could only write lying down, and even Jack Kerouac believed the best time for writing was in the middle of the night.  Maybe something about night, sleep and our proximity to unconscious helps break down those creative walls we build with our own self-doubts. Keep paper and pens by your bed when you sleep. You never know when and how they’ll come in handy. Even if you wake up with no recollection of the weird instructions you wrote yourself when sleep-plotting, that idea might still be funny enough to post on your blog. (Centipedes? Really, 1AM me? Well, if you insist…)

* Disclaimer: Welcome to my blog, where the statistics are made up and the math doesn’t matter.

Sound off on your own experiences in the comments! What’s the oddest note you’ve written for a story?

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The NaNoWriMo Seven Day Stretch

Sometimes the creative process is like a muscle. The more you work with it, the stronger and more efficient it becomes.

For the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month begins its annual creep on the collective soul of the writing community on November 1st. I’ve done a lot of writing over the last few years, yet NaNoWriMo and I have always passed one another like two joggers trying to squeeze down the same path, huffing away in separate directions and desperately avoiding any sticky sweat-to-sweat contact. This year, however, I’ve decided to commit to the very first NaNoWriMo of my writing career. I shall henceforth offer up my heart (and free time, social life, sleep cycle, etc.) to the spirit of November, for her to break as she pleases.

What does that mean? It means that if I’m going to take on this marathon, I’d better hit the gym.

Jump rope fail

Metaphorically, because I’m a writer and sweating is hard.

As a prelude to November and as a personal challenge, I’ll spend October 1st – 7th with the same word count goal as a typical NaNoWriMo day in November. That means producing an average of 1667 words a day and taking all the stress that comes with it. When NaNo hits me like a truck come November 1st, I hope this exercise will give me an idea of how to keep crawling along to the finish line.

So, uh, wish me luck? I might need a lot of it. And to all you WriMos out there gearing up for November, best of luck to you as well.

– K.

Hooray sports! Do the thing. Win the points.

Like this! But in a quiet place by yourself with a word processor.