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The Idea Box

I stand in the shower.

This is where alllll the ideas happen.

I stand naked in the shower, talking to myself.

OK, not all the ideas happen here. But a conservative estimate would place the number at around 84.3%.

I stand naked in the shower, talking to myself. Again. And the ideas are happening. Again. (Salt. Earth) Hot water is beating on the back of my skull, matting wet hair along the nape of my neck, and creative juices–in my brain, you pervs–are flowing. The problem with this is …

I don’t want the ideas to come and muddle up my headspace. Tomorrow, I have final edits to start finishing, if that makes sense. (Salt) I have things to clean up, writing-wise, that must be done. I have chosen July 22nd as my soft launch date, the date I upload my first novel Touched to ebook format and go from unpublished author to published indie author, something I’m hyper/excited/scared to death about. My main beta reader has given me until Friday (salt. earth)  June 10th to get her the last copy she’ll read for me before that time. ONLY THEN can I set the damn book aside and focus on fresh ideas and new plots and characters moving forward.

But the ideas (salt) don’t stop. And WHAT SALT? WHAT EARTH? I pause in the act of lathering shampoo into my scalp with my fingertips and scowl at the tiles in front of my face, beige tiles, and the little shelf upon which rests a nearly-empty bottle of Neutrogena Rainbath Body Wash and a buncha lady razors. What friggin’ salt? Iwonder. What kind of stupid idea is this, now?

No answers from that jumbled ether of my creative center, which is still being stimulated by the drumming of extra-hot water on the cervical spine and the base of my skull. Maybe I should be facing the shower. Maybe that’s my problem. I turn around and let the hot water river across my forehead and cheeks, opening my mouth the breathe through the spray. (Salt. Earth.) What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

OK, my brain says, as my idle hands start shampooing again. Salt and Earth. What do we know about these two things? Sodium chloride, NaCl, halite, yadda yadda. Dead Sea? Do my characters want to go to the Dead Sea? Hmmm. Chaucer, 1386: “Salt of the Earth” was/is an expression … it means someone is reliable, I think. The exact opposite of yours truly. Hmmm. To “salt the earth” like Scipio sacking and salting Carthage. (Salt. Earth. Zach Galifianakis is fucking hilarious) Welp, I don’t see how any of those things could possibly apply to my books, but OK OK, lemme think! I rinse the suds out of my hair, wondering if “salt” and “Earth”  and “Zach Galifianakis being hilarious” are my only ideas today, although that last one isn’t so much an idea as it is a fact.

What do I do with the ideas now? I can do what I’ve promised to do.

From now until launch, I will not be entertaining new ideas. *twitch* No, really. I will be jotting them down on recipe cards and throwing them in my Idea Box, which is not at all like my Lady Box. The Lady Box will not be given a description. You. Are. Welcome. The Idea Box is an old-timey recipe box with a flap lid hand painted in a 70s style kitchen motif, with classic olive green and burnt umber and yellow flowers, or squiggles that are supposed to be floral-ish? I should probably keep the box in the bathroom (the IDEA Box!) so I can thrust one arm out of the shower and grab a pencil (for the IDEA Box, people!), dripping all over the place (with my arms, drippy arms! Come on!) while I scribble and get soap in my eyes. Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant plan.

Meanwhile, ideas (salt) keep rambling around inside (earth) my head and though I try to focus on editing, the process (pretzels) what? … the process is slowed considerably by the damn (salt in the pretzel bag) gears turning in amongst my grey cells (all that salt in the bottom of the bag) and eventually, I am going to have to pay attention (salt them to the Earth) to the … what?? What does THAT mean?

The box will be getting full (the i-de-a box, omg you perverts!) by the time July 22nd comes. While I ignore Book 2 in the quest for tightening Book 1, ideas that could very well show up in Book 3 wait to pounce on me while I’m busy with the soap. All right, that time I meant to be pervy. But the new ideas go in the pile! I’m not gonna read ’em, not gonna touch ’em, not gonna think about ’em. *twitch* (salt those fucking zombies back into the Earth) WAIT!! Using pretzel salt to bind a zombie back into the Earth? Oh hell, no, that’s sillyass shit, right there, that’s sooooo up Marnie’s alley, that’s … going … in …the …*tsk* box. Dammit.

 What do you do when ideas for future books interfere with your WIP?

 (Editor’s note: AJ Aalto is an easily–ooOO look, the new Playgirl magazine came!–distracted woman … that is all. OK I’LL PUT ‘EM IN THE BOX, I PROMISE! No, don’t get the clown wig, don’t get the clown wig, doooooon’t–!!)

(Author’s note: Some time soon, my dear friend Heather will be guest blogging here in the crazyass land of AJ, dodging pickleforks to bring you … something. I have no idea what. I’m scared. I’m sure it’ll be fine–maybe. Probably. Or not. To be continued …)

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4 Responses to The Idea Box

  1. Ava Jae says:

    First: this was a great blog post. I was smiling/laughing throughout the whole thing, which is especially impressive since I don’t often read long blog posts. So AWESOME job!

    Second: Your blog is gorgeous. Just saying.

    Third: I love the idea of an idea box. (Huh, that sounded weird…) Anyway! I’m definitely going to have to try that out.

    Overall, awesome (and hysterical) post. Great job!

  2. Violeta says:

    Omg, you’re absolutely insane! I love it! This is by far the most entertaining post I’ve read this week. Hah, and I always appreciate glimpses into writers’ mind processes. Sounds like it’s somewhat like my own.

    However, my ideas come in the shower and on the toilet. 50/50. Truthfully, I’m glad you chose the shower and not the toilet seat, lol. And btw, the idea box sounds a lot like pandora’s box, really. Once you open it, it’s hard to close…

    As for ideas interfering. See, that’s problemo numero uno (if such a phrase exists) because I let them interfere. Maybe this is why I keep starting projects while the old ones lag behind. Sigh. I truly need to clean up my brain closet. Thanks for this post. I laughed… hard. 🙂

  3. Jack says:

    I thought I was the only one showers drove insane with ideas! Actually, most of my ideas come when I’m shaving! What else am I to do in the 5-10 minutes I lather, run the blade across my face and wash up? Images flow. Many images flow. I’m left to ponder on the meaning of the images. And lots of times I write them down. They become ideas I can use in a project I’m working on or a future project.

    Love showers and shaves!

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