Do not do this (obviously). It was easily one of the stupidest things I've ever done, but hopefully it shows how everything from your life (including your biggest mistakes) feed into your work and improve your writing.*

It all started on a quiet Sunday. I had two jobs. The first was to fix my dishwasher. The second was to finally finish the most arduous, soul crushing scene in my second book. Both tasks were daunting.

If you've ever lived without a dishwasher, you'll truly appreciate the joys of this wondrous machine. Sure, little robot hands don't come out and wash the dishes (even if you were told they did when you were 5 years old and believed it till you were 15), but nonetheless, the dishwasher is a magical time-saving device, especially for a writer with too many projects on the go and no time to scrape off fossilized carbonara from last nights dinner plate.

So with the failure of my dishwasher, I was heartbroken. The problem was the water wasn't draining after each wash. I cleaned the filter, but still, after each wash there remained a pool of stagnant, soupy water with chunky food bits that would not go away.

I needed to clean the waste pipe. I used a cleaning solution and a retractable cleaning wire, but there still seemed to be something lodged in there. Suddenly, I had the bright idea to blow into the hose…

Very slight spoilers ahead*

At the same time Anna was trapped in a deep malaise after her escape from the Sump. She was feeling physically ill, the insidious, malignant will of that place infecting her. In my book, the Sump is a place where "All lost things go that are never to be found", and the aftereffects of escaping had infected Anna like a disease. The problem was, I just couldn't describe it well enough in prose. I couldn't quite express the discomfort in Anna's lungs – the feeling of wrongness and revulsion she couldn't push down any longer…

Read:  Dialogue tags

A big slimy bubble of surprisingly black, stringy gunk burst open inside the dishwasher. Success! By forming my hands into a kind of funnel, I could blow through my fingers into the waste pipe of the dishwasher without putting my mouth near the tube itself. I had unclogged the dishwasher with one big exhale. After a quick wipe inside the machine, I could go back to writing, the day a success! But first, I thought I would blow through one more time to clear the pipe fully. I did, and then, through some deep, instinctual reflex, I took a deep breath in…

Why?! Why you ask, and it is a good question. I don't know why, it just happened.

My mouth filled instantly, I gagged, breathed at the same time, sucked the dishwasher liquid into my mouth, coughed, felt it go up into my sinuses and dribble from my nose. Then for about fifteen minutes afterwards I washed my mouth out with cup after cup of water, my head resting on the countertop as I said over and over again "No. Please no."

Later that night I sat in front of my computer, opened my manuscript and finished the most difficult scene in Anna and the Moonlight Road. A scene inspired by a quiet Sunday afternoon, and the horror I experienced that day.

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