Friday, March 19, 2010

Brainstorming makes my butt feel good

As I shared yesterday, brainstorming makes my butt sore.

I was pleased to receive so many kind emails and tweets from readers wishing to share how brainstorming affects their butts. It was a day filled with joyful butt-bonding, which made my butt quite happy.

Since this is clearly a topic that deserves more than just one blog post, I’m now going to tell you how brainstorming makes my butt feel good.

When I first started trying to write fiction eight years ago, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

I did, however, have a jetted soaking tub in my master bathroom, and a husband who could be lured there easily enough with the promise of nudity and warm water.

Once trapped with me in the oversized tub, Pythagoras was forced to stay and participate in conversations about writing. Sometimes I just wanted to vent about the submission process. Other times I wanted a sounding board for character ideas or help untangling a mess of plot knots.

This became known as “The bathtub brainstorm,” and it grew to be such an integral part of my writing process that I spent months hunting for the perfect tub when we built a new home a few years later.

In some ways, the bathtub brainstorm is a lot like the bike ride brainstorm. In other ways, the two are vastly different.

I’ll pause for a moment so you can insert your own joke about sweat, exertion, and/or heavy breathing. Got that out of your system? OK, good.

Moving right along, the bathtub brainstorm sessions tend to be more relaxing than the bike ride brainstorm sessions. A bathtub brainstorm occasionally includes wine, something that doesn’t work as well with the bike ride brainstorm (I tried once – still can’t get the Sangiovese out of the water bottles).

I’ve attempted the bathtub brainstorm by myself, but it never works as well. There’s something about conversing with another naked human that fuels the creative process. If you haven’t tried this, I encourage it. Go find a naked human right now – I’ll wait.

Though you might guess the bathtub brainstorm is more conducive to the development of love scenes, while the bike ride brainstorm is better suited to high-stakes action, that’s not always the case. Just the other day, Pythagoras and I peddled along the highway while discussing the details of a love triangle. Likewise, he once helped me weave such a terrifying murder plot from the comfort of our bathtub that I caught myself wondering how quickly I could reach his razor if he suddenly turned violent.

So now you know my brainstorming secrets. Probably more than you wanted to know, come to think of it.

Where do you do your best brainstorming? And most importantly, how does it impact your butt?


13 comments :

Linda G. said...

First let us pause while I get over my serious bathtub envy. *lusts after Tawna's tub*

Okay, that's done.

I do brainstorm in the shower, but only by myself. Because when I'm not by myself in the shower, I tend to be, um, too busy to brainstorm.

I also brainstorm during my exceedingly rare ironing sessions. Rarely is a plot snag worth THAT, though, so I save it for emergencies.

Patrick Alan said...

I realize this makes me a prude, but I have strict rules on my butt not being impacted.

Incidentally, that's a very small pool you have there. Have you seen a picture of mine?

kristina said...

I too love your tub space - especially the color as I am a big fan of color. :) (I've been described as a colorful character on more than one occasion, let me tell you.)

This brainstorming process blog pattern reminds me of writing in college. (Hang on, it will make sense in a bit.)

I majored in Lit and History with a minor in Political Science. Hence, lots of writing essays in my collegiate experience. Some of those papers were a breeze to pump out and others were a nightmare.

I write to music (ALWAYS!) so if it were a particularly difficult essay, I'd make deals with myself. "After you write 3 paragraphs, you may change the station FROM country western to a more appealing station." Worked like a charm.

Too bad I don't have the energy to use my Pandora to help me clean my house!

:)

Jen said...

Okay I seriously love your bathtub! No wonder you have excellent inspiration!

I love my L-shaped patio overlooking the freeway and nearby train, I get so much inspiration just sitting out there. Also the bed with my two wonderful kitties laying around.

I am inspired best by sleeping, my dreams are good to me :)

Tawna Fenske said...

Linda G, I do so love my tub! And uh...I think I'll take my bathtub brainstorm over your ironing brainstorm any day! :)

Patrick, I'm kind of surprised you didn't seize the opportunity to make a fart joke. What, nothing about bubbles in the tub? My mother will be disappointed.

Kristina, that's the only room in our house that we painted an interesting color, which is another reason I love it! I adore your idea of making deals with yourself, particularly with music and writing (since I can't possibly write without it). Will definitely have to use that.

Jen, kitties and outdoor patios sound like fabulous inspiration. Do you find you write more when the weather is nice or crappy? I'm on the fence with that, and am curious what others have found.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Tawna

Harley May said...

Are you suggesting I get him naked in the bathtub to bounce ideas off of him? I'd probably have to lure him into the bathtub with a video game first.

Patrick Alan said...

Oh. I thought I was waiting until next Thursday for another fart joke.

My bad.

Linda G. said...

I'm kind of sad that @PatrickAlan hasn't made a fart joke on my blog yet. I mean, I posted about eating over-cooked mutton. If that isn't an opening for a good fart joke, I don't know what is.

Tawna Fenske said...

Harley May, it's been my experience that men are much easier to manipulate when they're naked. Or when you're naked. Or both. Video games are optional.

Patrick, the time is always right for fart jokes.

Linda G, just be sure you don't diminish Patrick's supply of fart jokes so he doesn't have enough for me. There are only so many fart jokes to go around, you know.

Tawna

Sydnee said...

Wonderful! This is the best idea since sliced bread. I'd find a nice naked human to share my bathtub with right now, but I don't think my parents would be very pleased. Oh well. Guess I'll have to put off on that for a few more years, but I thank you for planting the idea in my brain anyway. :D

Tawna Fenske said...

Sydnee, wow -- welcome. I hadn't actually considered that I might have underage blog visitors. Um, well...yeah. Your parents might not appreciate it if you bring home a naked man, even if you insist it's a well-researched writing technique endorsed by an author with a book deal. Maybe hold off a couple years there. Thanks for reading!

Tawna

Melanie Sherman said...

Okay, I was going to leave a long, hilarious and witty comment, but now I'm afraid of fart jokes.
(Still love the tub, though)

Tawna Fenske said...

Melanie, don't worry, I'll keep Patrick and his fart jokes away from you. Thanks for reading!

Tawna