I find driving cathartic. I do a lot of troubleshooting behind the wheel. Something about the open road and the repetition allows my mind to wander a little, explore territory I either hadn't considered or revisit something that's been bothering me for a while.
Plot twists for a story suddenly appear. Problems are mysteriously solved. The what-nots of a character's personality or a sudden insight into their personal history burst forth with an ah-ha! that leaves me wondering why the heck I didn't realize that earlier. A kind of palm to forehead kind of moment, you know?
And call me crazy, but I have full on conversations with myself while the cruise control is up and running. Some of the best dialogue in my books comes from those talk-to-myself sessions.
But while driving the ten hours to spend time with my family this past week (there and back with a truck full of little kids. . .any wonder I needed a distraction?), I started a new tradition. . .added a fun twist to my driving repertoire.
It's a game I like to call Wordplay.
So, here's how it works. Pick a word--any word--then come up with a different word for each letter. . .like this. . .
I - ideas
M - magic
A - artistry
G - gutsy
I - ingenuity
N - novel
A - analyze
T - tenacity
I - integrity
O - originality
N - know-how (okay, I cheated on this one!)
So, now you know how I distracted myself on a ten hour trip. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention.