For me, one of the most enjoyable and important parts of the writing process is the thinking-time. By thinking-time I don’t mean planning, I mean that magical thing that happens when you are lost in your own story, a bit like day-dreaming, but working through what will happen next, who will say what, and how it might end. It happens at the beginning of a new story idea of course – when that spark of an idea (fully formed or not) needs to be nurtured into a beginning, middle and end. It happens at various points throughout the writing process for example, when you need to move a story on, but you don’t know how. At the end of the first draft (and every draft in fact) you need thinking-time to reflect on whether your story is the best it can be.
I know several writers who find that a hot bath helps to clear the brain blockages that can make a storyline stall. One friend walks her dog when she needs thinking-time. Obviously she walks her dog all the time, but a long walk, she claims, always helps her when she is stuck for. I even have a friend who goes to the gym when he needs to think – I find this one hard to imagine, as the only thing I can think about when I go to the gym is how quickly I can leave.
Thinking-time can be spontaneous or planned, some people find the morning better, others the evening – if you are anything like me it can even happen in the middle of the night Personally, I don’t have single technique, but I do need to be alone. I can edit away in the middle of a café or at home when people are coming and going with no problem – but, when I’m thinking-about-writing, I have to be alone. I need silence and time. Both of these things can be difficult to find to be honest, but without those key ingredients I just can’t get in the right frame of mind to think. So what do you do? What are your essential thinking needs, and where do you find you are most creative?