Showers are great for many reasons, first and foremost, removing the stench of armpits and feet from resident tweens. That's a big one around here, anyway. But this is an author/illustrator blog, so I'm not going to stay on the topic of hygiene. Instead, I want to do a quick dive into the power of the shower when it comes to brainstorming and creativity.
Did you know that I came up with the idea of Sloth VS Turtle while I was in the shower? It's true! And I came up with the title before I even knew what the book was going to be about. I've also come up with numerous plot points, illustration ideas, and crazy ideas in general in the shower. While I'm going to attribute a lot of this to magic, I think there is also something else going on.
Since I first ventured into this crazy life as an author and illustrator, we had little ones around. When I began work on The Great Big Scary Monster, my kids were three and four and we lived in a tiny apartment where sound traveled quickly from one end to the other. Sound even traveled from top to bottom as we heard our neighbors frequently (though probably not as much as they heard the sound of tiny, but loud feet). I quickly discovered that the one place to escape it all was the shower.
At this time, I was a stay-at-home dad and showering during the day was a gamble. I usually had to have the door open and talk to the boys the entire time to make sure they weren't causing mayhem. So I adapted. I would wait until Ashley got home from work, we would eat dinner, then I would shower and get to work on creative stuff. Later, I used the short time they were at preschool for this, but same idea. The shower was nice and hot, had a perfect level of white noise, and there was nothing to distract me. Before long, my mind entered some magical space where ideas flowed freely and I became a temporary creative genius. Or something like that.
So how does it work? Without getting into too many details, it goes something like this:
1. Make sure nobody needs to use the bathroom--especially if you only have one.
2. Get the water to where it is almost too hot to bare.
3. Get all of the cleaning, shampooing, shaving--whatever you do in the shower out of the way.
4. Sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor if you can and let the hot water run over your head.
5. Let your mind drift away from everything that you need to do or that stresses you out.
6. Great ideas!
Now here's a tricky part. Sometimes when I get out, if I don't immediately write my ideas down, they disappear like soap bubbles down the drain. You have to be ready to record them! Luckily, we keep bath crayons on hand and they work great for saving your ideas. I was creating a list of topics recently and took advantage of the crayons. See below.
I realize this is a bit of a TMI post, but hey, this is how a lot of my ideas come to me and if sharing helps anyone else, then I'll share. Also, this works for coming up with other ideas too. If I'm working on fixing something in the house, I sometimes come up with solutions this way.
What is your best brainstorming space?