First off, mega brownie points to anyone who can tell me what awesome movie my title is from. (I'm pretty sure I quoted it correctly. I'm darn close, at least.)
But it's a good question. Where DO thoughts come from? Or, more specifically, where do ideas for stories come from?
Something I've heard a lot of people say is they get ideas whil they're in the shower. When the FNC was at the SCBWI Poconos Retreat, we chatted with a woman who said she got so many ideas in the shower that she actually kept a notebook and pen on the edge of her tub!
There was another woman at the conference who said she fixes all the problems in her novel in her sleep. If she can't seem to figure something out for her story, she writes the problem down on a piece of paper right before she goes to sleep. When she wakes up, she has the solution! (I WISH this worked for me!)
Ann Patchett was the keynote speaker at my undergraduate graduation. In her speech she talked about being terrified to get married, because how on earth was she supposed to explain to her husband that her job consisted mostly of lying on the couch staring at the ceiling?! (I still have issues explain this one to my husband. I've even got to the point where I will tell him, when he inevitably asks, "So, what do you want to do?", "I want to stare at the wall," because he seems incapable of understanding concepts like "quiet" and "thinking time." Ah, boys.)
So let's check out our list. So far we've learned that ideas come from the shower, from sleeping, and from staring at stuff.
But... I figured out a new place ideas come from. For me, at least.
I bet you'll never guess. It's not quiet and peaceful like any of the above three.
It's the gym. That's right, the gym. Like sweating your butt off on the treadmill gym. Like water bottles and spandex pants and techno remixes gym.
Doesn't sound very inspiring, does it?
But it was! There I was on the elliptical machine, doing my obligatory 30-minutes-to-stay-healthy workout, listening to Dashboard Confessional (like you do, when you're at the gym...) and suddenly my head was filled with ideas!
During my 30 minute workout, I had ideas for no less than THREE new novels/stories, plus two new scenes of my current novel, AND a really good idea for a blog post/essay.
That's like a new idea every 6 minutes! It was awesome. I had so many ideas I had to write them down on the back of a CVS receipt in my car the moment I left the gym because I knew if I didn't they would all jumble up in my head.
I guess this is a whole new reason to stay healthy, right? I guess it's true--exercise releases endorphines. Endorphines make people happy. Happy people don't just kill their husbands. Or run out of ideas, apparently. (Again, brownie points for telling me what movie that quote is from. And this time I know it's right, because I looked it up.)
So, the gym is Inspiration-Central for me. But what about all of you? Where do YOUR ideas come from?