About once every few weeks — sometimes more, depending on my mood and the state of my mental health — I accidentally write a song while taking a shower.
This is not something I’ve really felt the need to talk about until now. It’s weird. And I’m not particularly fond of explaining why I have written many of these songs throughout my life but have no plans to expose them to the world because, uh, priorities.
But this doesn’t change the fact that I am proud of where my ideas come from. We are all so distracted by the people and noises and shiny objects around us that we rarely give our brains the chance to run wild while we stare at a blank wall and wait for our conditioner to soak in.
Why do shower thoughts happen? Well hopefully it’s because you’re not really doing much in there other than, you know, normal shower things. I don’t know about your shower setup, but mine doesn’t offer much in the way of scenery. I don’t live alone, so listening to music or podcasts while showering isn’t really an option most of the time. It’s basically just me, a bunch of soap, and my thoughts.
Which gives those thoughts a lot of room to form and expand and consume my entire existence in a matter of minutes. In my case, that usually means a daydream turns into a story idea or a random melody and strings of song lyrics collide inside my brain and I have no choice but to let them become music in my head.
Somehow I always manage to get at least some of these ideas down on my phone or on paper before I forget them. And I’m always surprised that when I look back at these ideas later, most of them aren’t all that terrible. No raw idea is perfect, but some of them aren’t all that bad.
So many of us think that because our ideas seem weird or showed up in a weird place, we shouldn’t trust them or they aren’t worth writing down. But that’s like saying a book isn’t worth reading because it has an usual title or a person isn’t worth getting to know because they said something weird to you the first time you met.
When we give things time to grow on us, sometimes they surprise us. In a good way.
Write down everything that pops into your head. Even if it’s already been done, if you don’t know all the details yet, if you’re afraid it’s never going to turn into anything. Even if you’re not sure if an idea is worth pursuing, you have nothing to lose by transferring it from your head to a physical place.
Only then can you really look at it from all angles and judge whether or not it’s something you want to spend weeks, months, even years working on. Don’t shoot an idea down before it even gets the chance to thrive. I’ve written some pretty terrible songs in the shower. But I’ve also written a few great ones. At least I hope so!
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.