Thursday, August 22, 2013

A to Z Blogging: I is for Inspiration

People are often mystified by writers (or any artist, really). They want to know where we get all our wonderful ideas.

The thing with a creative mind, is the more you allow that part of you free rein, the more ideas will come to you. No matter how many stories I've written, there's always another one brewing in my mind. 

So...where do I find inspiration?


Overheard conversations, music, famous quotations, a change of scenery, dreams, and of course, my imagination. 

Water is a big inspiration for me. Whether it's a trip to the shore or a quick shower in my own bathroom, there's something unique about water and creativity. Neuroscientists have begun to study the effect of the ocean on human brains and theorize that the endless view frees us to literally "think outside the box" because there's nothing hemming us in. The sound of the waves kissing the shore is the most relaxing sound for us, which allows us to imagine on a grander scale.

Biologist Wallace Nichols calls this phenomenon "Blue Mind." Being near the ocean or hearing the sounds associated with the ocean opens up our minds, makes us more contemplative, and generally calms us. Stress seems to sail away.

Makes sense, right?

The shower is different, and yet, so many of us get great ideas in the shower. Rumor has it, John Cougar Mellencamp wrote the first line of his mega-hit, "Hurts So Good" with soap on the shower door. 

Neuroscience (again!) has some answers. Studies show that showers relax us so our brains release dopamine, a chemical that stimulates our creativity. Add to that the isolation of a shower. We're totally alone and cut off from all distractions. It's no wonder we get our best ideas there!

There's even a product for creative shower people. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to "Aqua Notes," the waterproof notepad!

I bet the inventor came up with that in the shower...

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