Does this sound familiar? You’ve placed one of your characters (let’s call her Jenny) in a pretty sticky situation, and now you have no idea how to get her out of that pickle. You’ve tried several scenarios, but none of them quite works. Finally, you decide to take a break, clear your mind a bit. You’re thinking grab a quick shower, drive over to Starbucks for a latte, then come back and get to work on saving Jenny. Five minutes later, you’re halfway into that shower, and suddenly, it hits you, the perfect way to extricate Jenny from that sticky situation.
That sort of thing has happened to me often enough that, at some point, I began to wonder about the possibility of a connection between water and creativity. So, of course, I Googled it, and I quickly learned that there is a veritable waterfall of information on this topic. Yeah, I know. Waterfall of info on water. I couldn’t resist it. No more, I promise. Anyway, I discovered that there does, indeed, appear to be a connection, although it’s not the water per se, but rather a progression of events in which water is just one part. With apologies to Mr. Metcalf, my high school science teacher, I’ll do my best to walk you through the process. It involves dopamine, and one of the few things I still remember from Mr. Metcalf’s class is that dopamine equals good. Apparently, dopamine aids in the creative process (no idea; I got a C- in science), but to get the dopamine released into our brains, we first need to be doing something relaxing, like taking that warm shower or a long walk or a leisurely drive in the country. During these types of activities, your mind is distracted from whatever subject you’ve been concentrating on all day (for instance, poor Jenny), which allows your brain to relax at the same time it’s being flooded with dopamine, and before your know it, genius hits.
Okay, there you have it. Maybe not the most scientific explanation of the process (again, C-), but it gives you the general idea. Relaxation plus distraction plus dopamine equal problem solved. So the next time you’re sitting there staring at that blank page, take a hike.