The Shower Principle


30 Rock: "The Shower Principle" (S06, E15) — Jack Donaghy is practicing his putt in his office when Liz Lemon storms in, complaining about her life. 

"I don't have time for your nonsense, Lemon. I'm working. I know this doesn't look like work but are you familiar with the Shower Principle? The Shower Principle is a term scientists used to describe moments of inspiration when the brain is distracted from the problem at hand. For example, when you're showering."

I don't normally agree with Jack Donaghy (especially not his ridiculous business tactics!) but I did agree with this.

When I am stuck with "writer's block", the worst thing to do is stare at the computer screen and force something out. What I do is I walk, go grocery shopping, or I shower—anything else other than writing. As I do this activity, I start talking to myself in my head about my ideas and what would work. I play the ideas out.

When I have something I really like, I stop and write it down in my phone. In the shower, it's tricky... I guess I could write it with conditioner on the wall but usually I'll repeat it in my head until I rinse off, throw a towel on, and find a pen and paper to scribble the idea down. I've even stopped in the middle of the road while bike riding to jot down an idea. 

Doing something unrelated to writing takes the pressure off from coming up with that brilliant idea. Your brain is clear, not foggy and tense, and the ideas come flowing in

Try it. Go for a walk (but don't listen to your headphones) or a bike ride. Go shopping or take a hot shower. Let your mind wander. 

What's that J. R. R. Tolkien quote the millennials love to hang on their wall? 
"Not all those who wander are lost."

Tell me your favorite way to use the
Shower Principle in the comments below!