So here’s the thing. I’ve always wondered WHERE and WHEN I get my best ideas. In my head, if I could pinpoint the where and when, I would be able to replicate the environment and harvest the best of my ideas. Because let’s be honest, for every 1 brilliant idea, there’s always about 9 others that don’t make the cut. (And that’s another story)
Location, location, location. Some prolific writers (J.K. Rowling) have been known to write their best stories in a small, quaint, unassuming cafe. I always thought that was such a romantic idea. Strolling into a cafe with my sunglasses (I’m not sure why I have my sunglasses on given it’s the UK but let’s play along, I am looking cool), I purchase my soya mocha at the counter, saunter to my favourite spot, set up my laptop and after a few sips I’m furiously punching the keys (ok in all fairness, most likely to finish something related to work, rather than my best-selling novel). I’ve tried this and failed. Miserably. I ended up checking my emails, being distracted by people walking by (what IS that girl wearing?), and can I just say this – London is too crowded for this sitting leisurely in a cafe crap. You could probably do this in Melbourne or Adelaide where there’s a wonderful cafe culture and less people per square metre. Have you seen the queue at ANY Starbucks in Central London???
Side note: I visited the actual cafe in Edinburgh that Ms. Rowling wrote her Harry Potter books in and I did try to imagine how she felt when she wrote the books – also I lovingly stroked some of the tables when my friend Wei Leng wasn’t looking (because I didn’t want her to think I was weird, but I think it’s too late now, she can’t unfriend me) but regretted it immediately as the tables were sticky. Good cakes though.
One of my other favourite places was at the tops of hills and mountains, anywhere high up with exception of apartments in Singapore. That just scares me shitless. It’s a wonderful way to escape civilisation, witness God’s creation and breathe in some fresh air. Maybe this would really get the juices in the brain pumping. A bit trickier to replicate but there is a ‘mountain’ close to me. I could go to Greenwich, but time is too precious a commodity! So I walked up to Stave Hill with my laptop and when I got there, I realised I felt neither inspired nor relaxed. It was so windy I could barely open my eyes and it was COLD. Guess I need to find a location that is not weather-dependent.
It felt I was grasping at straws so far. Timing was even less within my control given my full time job and the two time-suckers known as V1 and V2. Really, it feels like the past 4 years have been sucked into an unknown vortex. I believe I’m the most enthusiastic and full of possibilities first thing in the morning but these days I do most of my meandering in sporadic bursts. Sometimes when my husband is reading the girls a bedtime story and I’ve loaded the dishwasher, I sit down and think. Most times when both of the girls are in bed, I begin to write some of my thoughts, with the beginnings of fatigue and exhaustion creeping into my eyelids and wooing me to sleep.
And then IT happened. My epiphany.
I was in the shower, with water all over me, pondering the meaning of my existence after another day at work. Work was fine. But it wasn’t complete. I was missing the extra something. I have been fighting this horrible cough for two weeks before it took its turn for the worst on Sunday (combination of CNY cookies and running in the cold?) and I was literally bedridden for two days. I managed to drag myself to work only to feel pretty ill again. Feeling so awfully ill and not washed my hair in days (sorry!), I was not in the best form to have the Eureka moment! But I did! I had a Eureka moment!!
My whole point of illustrating my WHERE and WHEN of epiphanies was that my ideas came to me where I have completely zero distractions and where I felt safe and possible where there is hot water (which is rather relaxing). And my ideas would come to me when I’m at a low point emotionally or physically. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule but ta-da!!!
There’s only one big problem to this though – has anyone invented a waterproof laptop yet? Somehow I can’t imagine standing buck naked typing away while hot water is running over me. First of all, it’s a complete waste of water, secondly I could electrocute myself. I might have to settle for a bath (which only gives me a epiphany life span of 30-40 minutes before the water runs cold. Hmmm…ah crap. Any ideas??? Leave a comment below.