Friday, January 28, 2011


Thought processes...

Can you imagine how many useless thoughts go through a mind when trying to come up with a blog topic? I guess I shouldn't generalize -- I'll claim it, it's my mind I'm talking about and who knows, it may be unique in this.

Which got me to thinking about how writers get ideas. Who hasn't been asked, "How do you come up with your plot?" or something similar. I usually find my early morning walks a good time to put the day ahead of me in order and to work out any writing snags. That is, until I stop to talk to my dog-walking friend. Well, I talk to her dog first, I must admit. And, although we've been doing this ritual (not every day mind you) for 4 years now, this morning I finally found out her name. I've known her dog's name all along...and I'm not even walking a dog. So, that was one major distraction and by the time we'd finished talking, I was chilled and had to walk even faster to warm up and spent a lot of that time thinking about how cold I was. But I digress.

At home, in writing mode, when I need to mull over a scene or some dialogue, I stand and walk around the room. Unfortunately, my walk usually veers towards the fridge or the cupboard, where I'll grab a handful of almonds and munch while walking. This really does seem to help my thought processes ... but not my waistline.

I used to think about plots when I was falling asleep but at some point, lost the ability to remember them in the morning, unless I'd turn on the light and write them down, at which point, I couldn't get back to sleep. I try not to think about writing at bedtime these days. I listen to a relaxation CD instead, and hope that will free the thought processes the next day.

Sometimes, the morning newspaper can be a source of inspiration, especially for blogs. But often it's heavy on depressing news from around the world or the total opposite of the spectrum, items about Hollywood stars (and not the heavenly kind). I hunt for crime articles, especially trials, to see if anything is revealed that could translate to a blog or better yet, my story.

Why look...I've written a blog! We won't get into whether it's a good one or not. Those thought processes took over and started stringing sentences together. But, what I'd really like to know is how you do your best thinking? Or where? Or When? I think there might be some really great tips out there!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase


  1. thought processies occur in varied stages for me depending on where i am in writing the novel - by far the most fun of any book is the initial excitement of creating the plot and the characters - my plots are all "ripped from the headlines" and then i construct the story line - i used to walk around, like you, often pressing my forehead against the front window pane and idly watch the street - now, i watch movies with half interest in what i'm seeing as my mind multitasks on creation - i used to have heavy duty classical music playing, or even rock/techno beats - now i even turn off sound on the movies and let the visuals wash over me - and of course i can be distracted by my cats while i'm thinking, and lo, here's Billy Slee looking for some loving

  2. i should add that every day i scan, online, 5 newspapers, looking for southwest crime news - when i notice a particular reporter continues to write good stuff, i email the reporter, who knows, it occasionally leads to more contacts

  3. And there's nothing like a chat with a friend to get the ideas hopping!

  4. Mornings? Early? Walks? all seem frightfully alien to me.
    Give me caffeine! The radio, a newspaper . . . and more caffeine. I have the sort of brain that spits out weird bits of ideas at strange times after stewing unnoticed in a miasma of unrelated information and human observations. Ideas piroutting from a swampy cortex, all the more shocking when performed by a rhinocerous.