There’s nothing I love more than those flurried minutes or hours of incredible inspiration. The light bulb clicks on, a problem you’ve had comes into sharp focus, and you just go. I think, as writers, we live for those moments. They’re an imaginational high that we keep coming back to again and again. But how do we put our writer’s brain to rest after those crazy heady moments?
I know I tend to be wound tighter than a spring after inspiration strikes, which is particularly unfortunate as my inspiration fairy likes to wave her magic wand late at night. I’ve tried so many different ways of unwinding, and for a long time I would turn to a book or a game on my phone, but the high lingered for a long time and sleep would not come. The inspired moment was great, but then I would be so sapped of energy the next day that I could not follow up on it!
A few weeks ago, at 9 p.m., I was struck with an idea I thought would solve the problem I was having with my first act (to learn more about the three act structure, check out James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure). I wrote feverishly for two hours until I got the new scene pretty well in order. It was great! Until I remembered I should’ve been sleeping an hour ago. I reached for my book, but instead I did the strangest thing.
I just sat there.
For the next 5-10 minutes, I sat in absolute silence. My mind chased the last rabbit trails of the idea and then it tucked them away. My brain ran through a timeline of how to make the necessary changes, and then that too was tucked away. Down one path and then another my mind raced until it finally slowed and then stopped.
My crazy, hectic writer’s brain was at rest in under 10 minutes.
I jotted down a couple quick notes of the thoughts I’d had, and then I went to bed. The next day, I woke up refreshed and ready to unravel the mess my inspiration had brought me. (Do you find that your inspiration often takes in a direction you didn’t want to go, too?) It was a ground-breaking experience for me.
So don’t forget, in this world of constant distractions and updates, to take the time to let your mind unwind the loose threads of your idea and tuck them away–ready for the next day’s use.
Does your inspiration leave you tired or with an energy high? What are the best methods you’ve found to put your writer’s brain to rest after a creative flurry? What other tips and tricks would you like to help you along your writer’s journey? Tell me in the comments!