Aha moments almost have to come from places your attention doesn’t usually focus on. My brain at least, follows predictable tracks. If I want something to steer me in a new direction, it has to come from ‘out of the blue’. I’m a happy writer when something unexpected jolts me into new ideas, or a new way at looking at an old idea.
For example, I have a critique partner who is writing an amazing fantasy story. I held off sending my latest critique to her for a couple of days. There was something in the chapters I’d read that didn’t sit right with me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. During a live call in another writers group yesterday, a guest developmental editor was talking about prologues, first chapters, and how authors can get too hung up on labels. Suddenly, the idea I couldn’t articulate snapped into focus for me.
I can’t count how many times something like that happens. I could be in a totally different state of mind, listening to, reading about, writing, or discussing an unrelated idea. But in a moment of blessing from my muse, BAM, a fully formed idea erupts from my subconscious. I have to hurry to write that gem of an idea down lest Lethe wash over me and I lose it.
That brings me to a great point I try to point out in this blog often. Explore varied interests, do different things, challenge yourself, expand your horizons, get out of your comfort zone. The results are worth the temporary discomfort. You just might find a few gems that change your writing or your life!