How to Get Inspired on a Car Ride

Okay, from now on just assume that if I don't post when I'm supposed to, it's because I've been super busy with school or work or something--not that I just didn't feel like posting. Moving on!
I had planned to write something completely different for today, but on Sunday something fantastic happened that inspired today's post. My sister, brother-in-law, and I tend to love spur-of-the-moment ideas and last minute road trips. So out of the blue, we decided to book a hotel and go stay at Lake Michigan for a night this coming weekend. With all the school and work stuff I've been busy with lately, a weekend away sounds absolutely amazing. Obviously I can't wait until this Friday!
Like many writers, I love road trips or long car rides because they can be so inspiring. I've gotten some of my best ideas while in the car! But, in order to get good ideas and inspiration, there are usually some things I like to do to help me. And since some writers find staying focused and getting inspired difficult, maybe this will help you!

1. Listen to music. As soon as I put my headphones on in the car, I tend to zone out and ignore everything around me. Listening to my songs on shuffle is a good way for me to discover random songs that give me inspiration for a scene or new story. My favorite thing to do, though, is create a playlist of specific songs for different books or moods. This is a great way to set the mood for some major brainstorming and imagining.
2. Pay attention to the outside. The window is my best friend on car rides, because when I have my headphones in and I watch things passing outside, I get ideas like crazy. When passing different places, pay attention to what you see. Note the details of old brick buildings or the layout of a city or small town. You may stumble across some place that reminds you of the setting of your book. You never know!
3. Let your characters talk. Car rides tend to be the time when dialogue just runs in my head. New places or songs have a way of sparking conversations or scenes between characters in my mind, and it's fun to see what you can come up with as you drive. Sometimes you might even learn something new about your characters, or even your entire book.
4. Look at things differently. One of my favorite things to do on long car rides is to look at a normal object and ask questions about it. For example, look at the forest you pass. Does anyone live in that forest? Has anyone died there? Could it be haunted? When you see a building, don't just think of it as a building. Does it look like that factory in your sci-fi book? Is it an old clock tower? What if your character jumped off of a building like that? Would they fall or fly? Let your imagination run wild!

Most of all, I think the best thing to do in a car ride is just let yourself relax, and let the inspiration and ideas come to you. The nice thing about the mind of a writer is that it's rarely a dull place! Ideas and inspiration are everywhere, and we tend to see things that other people don't. So take advantage! You never know what sort of wacky story idea or character your next car ride will land you with.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9