There's a Time and a Place for Everything

I’ve been writing for a very long time now. I do it every day, as much as I possibly can. Even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, or at least speculating plot lines and character backstories. However, these days, due to my busy schedule, I don’t always have a lot of time to write or plan. I have very few moments of the day in which I can just sit and let my thoughts wander about my story. So I’ve learned to maximize every opportunity, as well as identify them. Today, I want to share with y’all my top three places for thinking about my stories.

1. The Car

This one works better for me than it probably does for most people. I live in Texas, where everything is fairly spread out. Unless you live and do everything in a large city, you will find yourself driving out to other cities fairly often. Considering I also live in the country, this is especially true. It takes fifteen minutes to get to Walmart, twenty to get to an actual grocery store, and twenty-five to get to church. The longest drive would be the transition I take between campuses for college. The ASL department is entirely based in one of the furthest campuses from me, and so it takes a good hour to get there from home.
Between all of this driving time, I have a lot of opportunities to think. Even if your commute times are nowhere near this long, even five or ten minutes of deep thought can give great results. Instead of listening to the news or filling in the silence with loud music, put on some quiet background noise and think. It doesn’t even need to be about the next scene you’ll write, or what you feel should happen next. Think about events that happen before the story, events that fuel your characters’ decisions. Think about what your character’s favorite foods and memories are, and why that is. Surround yourself with your story, and let your mind wander. Just make sure you take the right exit.

2. The Shower

This one sounds a little strange if you have never done it, but there is something about the steady rhythm of warm (or cold, or even hot if you’re like me) water that gives an incredible amount of inspiration. I can’t tell you how many plot ideas or even entire books that I’ve come up with whilst taking a shower. The climax for Mind Over Matter finally fell into place while I was washing my hair. So, while you’re rubbing in your shampoo, think about your story. Think about the way you want your structure to go, or how some side-plots should reach their completion.
And hey, if showers aren’t for you, baths work wonderfully as well. Just make sure you don’t take all day, especially if you have not a lot of hot water available, like we do. If you leave friends/family with no hot water, they will not appreciate it, no matter how good the reason.

3. In Bed

This is probably the best one I can offer on this list. Most people could probably take a guess as to why this is. When you are in bed, you have no distractions. It is the perfect place to close your eyes and just envision a scene from your story. Instead of just thinking about things, like you would normally do, you can picture your novel as a mental movie, with each scene playing out just like how you would see it if it were a film. This makes the time it takes for you to fall asleep one of your greatest opportunities to plan out action scenes, from car chases to sword fights, or any other part of your book, really.

So, there we go. My favorite pondering places. I hope this is of some help to all of y’all, as in our busy lives we often find ourselves struggling to make time for the things we deem important. Sometimes, all it takes is realizing the perfect opportunities that already exists, and learning to take full advantage of them. Now then, next time you find yourself on a long drive, relaxing in a warm bath, or lying awake late at night, allow your mind to just wander. It’s amazing how much you can come up with.


  1. Oh my goodness, I just have to say, these are MY top 3 places to think as well!! (especially since we just moved from TX and I've experienced the crazy driving there...) Wonderful article Arella!

    1. Haha, thanks! I had a feeling that quite a few people would relate to at least one or two. :)