WFMAD Day 22 – Showers of Words

Here is an almost typical writing day for me. I woke up yesterday at 5am, ate breakfast, wrote my blog entry and wrote in my journal. Then I had to drive BH 40 miles into the city so he could pick up his car. When I got back to my village, I took care of a couple of errands and wrote in our new bakery for a while. (Greco’s, for all of you guys who live near me. It’s next to the Dollar Store in Mexico. A GREAT place to write.)

When the traffic outside the bakery got too heavy, I headed back home and wrote until dinnertime. How many words did I write? I have no idea. 

I was struggling and struggling with the elements of a new chapter. I knew what was going on with my character up until that chapter. I sort of knew what was going to happen after it. Chapter X, however, remained murky.

I brainstormed several courses of action my character could take. Didn’t like any of them. Checked my email. Didn’t like any of that, either. Went back to some of the primary sources that were the inspiration for this chapter. Felt like the right idea was teasing me; staying just out of my line of sight, but rushing up and poking me in the side to let me know it was there.

And I felt like an idiot for not being able to solve this knot.

I looked at the possibility that this was an unnecessary chapter. Nope. I needed it. This is a turning point chapter in which one series of events resolves and another begins. A new character was present in this chapter; he showed up two chapters earler, and I didn’t know much about him. I finally figured my character’s emotional journey in this pivotal chapter, but I was stuck on how to show how he makes that journey through action and dialog.

BH and I ate dinner. I talked to a couple of our kids and read for a couple of hours. I had planned on going back to my office to write before bed, but just couldn’t find the energy. So it was off to the shower.

My answer was in the water. This happens so frequently, I don’t know why I don’t just work in the shower ever day.

In the course of the shower, all of the answers dropped into my skull: the new character’s name, motivations and background, his connections to my Main Character, and best of all, the way this irritating chapter was supposed to unfold.


The interesting thing was that my new understanding of the new character requires me to go back two chapters where he is introduced and completely change his reaction to the Very Awful Bad Thing that happens back there. That’s today’s work.


Today’s advice: "Every writer I know has trouble writing."  Joseph Heller


Today’s prompt: Part 1. Go to the Poem-A-Day archive at  Choose three poems at random. Print them out.

Part 2. Take a page out of your local newpaper.

Part 3. Grab your scissors and cut up the newspaper and poems into narrow slips of paper that contain no more than two lines of text. When you are done slicing and dicing, mix all the pieces of paper together.

Part 4. Close your eyes and pull out a couple or three or five slips of paper. Use the words on them to spark your writing today.


9 Replies to “WFMAD Day 22 – Showers of Words”

  1. I often find that a soak in the tub does the same thing for me. Only I can take a hard-backed notepad and pen with me, which is a bit hard to do in the shower.

  2. I find my morning runs are good for that: getting out the frustration of the block, clearing my mind from it, and then of course with my mind clear, it comes to me, finally. Then I have to just go over it and over it in my head so I don’t forget it for lack of paper and pen. >.<

  3. Ha! The answer was in the water for me, too! I got the first three lines of a picture book while in the shower yesterday….kept repeating them over and over whilst lathering, rinsing and repeating the shampoo (or I could have hopped out to jot it down and tracked water through the house…)

    I’d been struggling with how to start this project for weeks and weeks!

  4. The dog and I are very happy for your discovery and solving your knot thingy. However, could you please not shout “eureka”, it scares the hell out of us.

  5. shower inspiration

    The best library lessons I develop can all trace their genesis to the morning of need and the shower. Makes for a very hectic half hour at work before the students come in for class. But, I am always happy for this kind of inspiration. – diane

  6. Hi Laurie,
    I don’t always comment, but I enjoy your blog. 🙂
    Some of my best ideas come out of the shower. Writing ideas and teaching ideas. Also, taking a walk and going to bed early, before I’m totally konked.


  7. The same thing happens to me in the shower! I don’t know what it is…just relaxing and letting my mind wander? Anyway, I get all kinds of good ideas in there…not just writing…but ideas on teaching my kids (I teach them at home), current problems I’m struggling with, and more.

  8. Shower Ideas

    Almost every great breakthrough idea I get comes during my morning shower. My wife found a quirky birthday gift for me that allows me to write in the shower now. It’s a waterproof notepad. Their website is

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