Sunday, 8 April 2012

Drip drip drop, impromptu showers.

Jennifer Lane is Student Editor at Diffusion: UCLan Journal of Undergraduate Research and is currently studying an MA in writing for children.

It’s an absolute proven scientific fact that we have our best ideas in the shower. Quick, get me a sodding pen! I have many barely legible notes made by soapy fingers. But which sort of showerer are you? Do you turn on the water before you get in, or do you twiddle the dials once you’re inside and hope for the best? I am the former of these two – none of that spur-of-the-moment malarkey for me! People may say that spontaneity keeps us young, but I’d rather not start the day by burning my bum…

Maybe that’s a problem of mine. Carpe diem isn’t exactly my motto – more like stay at home with a brew and (if I’m feeling reckless) whack on a bit of Lord of the Rings. I’d rather Frodo Baggins get knocked out by a cave troll than me, thanks very much. It’s the same with my writing: it takes me a week to bash out a paragraph because I’ll be fussing over a finicky full stop or researching Medieval cooking pots (mine is a life of continual excitement). I over-think things like many writers, which doesn’t always make for the most impromptu of romps.

But Spring is in full-swing and I’m determined to change. Maybe it’s the verdant meadows or the prickling promise of hayfever, I don’t know; but I’m about to spice things up. A fit of spontaneity! I’m going to book a holiday to Paris! I’m going to run down empty streets! I’m going to dip kit-kats in random condiments! Ok, maybe not the kit-kat thing: one step at a time.

Small challenges can give you a nudge in the right direction and really open your eyes. I’m not talking about grand gestures, massive pushes out of the door: just take a different route. Penning a paragraph of sci-fi when you’re really a romance-buff. Setting your alarm for dawn and writing as the sun comes up. Reading James Joyce (if you’re feeling brave).

It’s not going to come all at once. Sometimes we don’t need April Showers: we need a pipe-bursting, dam-busting storm. But hey, I’m taking it slow. I’m not expecting to spout a sonnet before breakfast… yet. So when I pad to the shower in my slipper-socks, I’m going to do the unthinkable and take my chances. Maybe sometimes it’s good to get a blast of a wake-up call. Even if it does blister your backside.

Best start putting biros in the toothbrush holder again…



Lindsay said...

Thanks for joining us Jen, I might try and venture out of my comfort zone and see where I end up. You never know it might turn out to be my next route. Great post :)

Ashley R Lister said...


I can wholly sympathise with the medieval cooking pots. I'm writing a piece set in the early medieval period and I keep losing days by reading fascinating treatises on clothing and weaponry from that time.



vicky ellis said...

Hi Jennifer :)

You are quite right. A sprinkling of something new is good for the soul. And why is the shower the ultimate idea birthing pool? The bath's pretty bad for it too. I've taken to typing ideas into my phone while I'm in the shower. It's only a matter of time...

Thanks for the nudge,