How Do You Brainstorm?

Let’s get it out of the way: I DEFEATED NANOWRIMO 2018. I say defeated instead of won, because it really did feel like a battle at the end. Those last two days I had to put out 7000 words if I wanted to win. I got half on Thursday, and I felt good about it. Then Friday came and I remembered that… those 3500 on Thursday were hand written and would need to be transcribed.

So, after getting home from the day job, I had about five hours to transcribe and get 3500 additional words. I was sweating it, but I put on my favorite jammies, got in bed, and pounded the keyboard.

In the end, I hit 50,020 words at 11:20 PM Central Standard Time. It was an ass kicking, but I did it.

I celebrated by spending two glorious days not thinking about my manuscript. I finished the book I was reading, I played some video games with my partner, I DID THE DISHES.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be done with November. Though I only made it to what I’m guessing is about the 40% mark of the total novel, I still gave myself a really good push. I now know I can make the commitment to write every day, even if it is only 500-600 words. I’m fine with that. I’m better than fine with it.

Anyway, if I’m sick of talking about NaNo, y’all must be equally sick of reading about it, so! Back to your regularly scheduled blog posts!


One of my most annoying writing habits is the very particular way I brainstorm. My partner gets ideas in the shower (or after a minor head injury, like in the cartoons, but that’s a story for another day). Some people get them in the car. Others from really carefully poring over the work they’ve already done.

Me? When I’m feeling stuck for any reason, I’ve found that, for me, the best way to really visualize a scene is to get in bed and pretend to go to sleep.

I’ve been a night owl my whole life and have suffered insomnia when trying to fit into “normal”  sleeping schedule. In my early twenties I discovered the best way to put myself to sleep when I was struggling was to write scenes in my head, down to the very smallest details. It certainly helped get me to sleep faster, but I think I inadvertently formed a Pavlovian response for my creative process.

I’m certainly not the only one who frantically taps out notes on their phone or on a bedside notebook before sleep takes me and the ideas are lost. I know I’m hardly alone in that my creative synapses get firing right before I fall asleep, but sometimes I’m left feeling that they only get firing when my head is on the pillow.

The circumstances necessary to find my creative sweet spot are annoyingly specific, too. I can’t just be laying down. I can’t just have my eyes closed in a quiet space. I have to be laying down, in my bed, with no light and no noise, with my eyes closed, and I have to be telling myself that the reason I am doing this is because I am going to sleep now and I need to do the thing that makes me to go to sleep.

Problem with all that being… I often fall asleep. That and it’s hard to carve out time for a creative juice refilling nap. That’s true for pretty much every adult.

But still, it’s my process and I’m at least thankful I know how to tap into that creative well if I feel my conscious brain is running out of steam.

So, that’s me and that’s my weirdest writing habit. What’s yours?


What I’m Reading This Week: Nothing! I finished Outlander as a reward to myself for surviving NaNo. I thought about maybe continuing the series, but what I really need to be doing, I realized, is starting to do some reading that is closer to my own genre. I have some fantasy series on my kindle from the Unlimited library, but I’ve been a little hesitant to crack into them as I’ve had been fairly dissatisfied with some of my previous Unlimited forays.

So, I’m writing new adult fantasy with a little romance. Who’s got recs for me?

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