Most of my writing ideas come in the wee hours. I typically get out of bed between 5 and 5:15 in the morning. Put on the coffee and something usually comes to me. A phrase, an image, a sentence. I’m quick to jot it down because, even if it makes no sense, there’s a feeling behind it. A color, a conversation, a character’s voice, a small piece of the writing puzzle. My stuff tends to be filled with colors and textures, so I pay attention to the shadows and what’s beneath them. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards photography, the play of light and shadow. And, of course, color.
The next best time for “inspiration” (and I hesitate to call it that, because I’m actively seeking ideas, not waiting for it to show up at the door) is when I’m driving to work. It’s an easy drive, even around the twisty curves down the mountain, and it takes about half an hour. That’s when I find interesting plot twists. Usually “what if” ideas. I watch the road and ideas come in. For instance, I finally found my ending to Ordinary Handsome on such a drive. I had four or five different ideas of how to end it, and then it came to me. Totally unexpected. I love those moments, when the big “Whoa!” shows up. And there it was. I wanted to turn around and come back home to write it all down. But, you know… the job, the paycheck, the boss. So I sat on it for almost 10 hours, writing notes to myself when I had a spare minute. But mostly just letting it build, tilling it up.
Usually I’m not a daytime writer. Can’t get things to gel. I write best in the dark, when the sun’s gone to bed, or just starting crawl back into the sky. And anyway, the photo-taking works best in the daylight. So that works out.