“The difference between writers and everyone else? Writers remember what they were thinking about in the shower.”
I have no idea where I first heard this or where it came from, but it stuck. The Shower Thought, that moment of clarity where nothing else really exists in the world around you except the flow of hot water, steam filling the room and a clear mind. It’s in this moment, countless times, I’ve been lucky to experience an epiphany of creativity.
The hardest part is holding onto that memory, lest you lose a serendipitous opportunity to craft something new, and if you’re lucky, unique.
The trick is to not let those thoughts marinate too long, simmering in your brain instead of slicing, dicing and preparing them to share with the world. The easiest way? Write every day.
That habit has helped me not just become a better writer, but become more efficient in how I write. Inspiration can be so fleeting, it’s pivotal to get pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in order to hone your moment of clarity into something tangible.
Take, for instance, a recent post on my blog from a Friday in mid-February. All week, friends and I had been discussing the topic du jour in the Beer World – an inflammatory article about how one person decided craft beer was dead to them because a style they didn’t like has become popular. There was a lot of huffing and hawing about the usefulness of such a clickbaity piece, so it was stuck in my head.
Then, on Friday morning, as I got ready for work, I let my mind wander to all the weird places a companion post might go … Could I write about craft beer being “alive” like a person? Could I take apart the author’s argument piece-by-piece? No – I’ll take the post for face value and think about why *I* would want to write something like that.
I’ll “apply” for a job at the website.
So I “did.”
I kept that thought flowing, never letting it leave the forefront of my mind. I scribbled some notes on paper and as soon as I sat at a computer, I started typing and didn’t stop.
In all, I probably spent about 60 minutes working on the piece, but it was that initial spurt of imagination that got me started. Because I let my mind drift in the shower.
This is not to say a shower is the only place to find revelatory thoughts. Exercise is a great distraction for the body that I’ve found lets my mind wander, too. The important part is to not let those thoughts drift too much, otherwise instead of being a writer, you’ll just be “everyone else,” letting your shot at creativity float away like the steam in your bathroom.
Bryan Roth is a freelance writer and the man behind ‘This Is Why I’m Drunk’. Follow his random thoughts on Twitter at @bryandroth and his pursuit of “beertography” on Instagram at @bryandroth.