People from the future are waiting in the bathroom

There’s a voice I hear whenever a door opens. It tells me that this time I won’t see what I expect.

What's in my head

Every door is another possibility

Instead of seeing the second floor and the hallway leading to my office, I’ll see a park. Instead of shopping mall, I’ll be in a prison. Instead of a bathroom, I’ll find myself in a waiting room with people from the future.

People ask writers where they get their ideas. And I wonder what people who aren’t writers think about all day.

I’m constantly imagining other people and places. I think about names for stories, titles for novels. I pick up words the way a numismatist picks up coins, turning them over and examining them from every side.

Everything is a potential story, a character, or a setting. The problem is not in finding ideas, but in wading through the overwhelming possibilities to find ideas that are worth exploring.

But the best ideas come to me when I let my imagination cut loose. For me, this comes easiest when my editor is shut off — or shut out — so I can’t second guess myself. It shouldn’t be surprising that I get my best ideas when I’m dreaming.

A few months ago, I awoke from a dream about a female superhero. She was new to the business and she didn’t  know her teammates very well. She kept referring to one of them as “the blue guy.” They worked together to save a large group of children from the evil rat king. It was all very odd.

It became the foundation for the novel I’m currently writing. Most of the details have changed, but the dream was still the starting point. Without the dream, I might never have considered writing in the superhero genre.

It doesn’t matter where you get your ideas from — whether you get inspired by long, hot showers or digging through trash. Inspiration comes to each person differently. The important thing is that you allow yourself a chance to be inspired.

Robert Penn Warren once said, “You must cultivate leisure.”

This is essential to being a writer. To be open to the story ideas around you, your mind must be ready to accept them. If you don’t allow your mind to relax, you’ll never be able to hear the still, small voice of your muse.

Kevin Wohler is a copywriter and novelist living in Lawrence, Kansas. During the day, he works at a digital marketing agency in the Kansas City area. When time remains, he likes to tell stories of the weird and bizarre. And sometimes, he writes them down for others to read.


  • Justin says:

    Great article Kevin. Indeed for writing to occur in my life I must quiet the other voices and images long enough to focus. It is rather like meditation, and I think lately that has been my problem. My brain is too loud.

  • Ted says:

    Very interesting article, especially the clever title. But I have to say, that is the CHEESIEST picture I’ve come across in a while. :)

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