“. . . a good idea doesn’t come while you’re doing a million things. The good idea comes in the moment of rest. It comes in the shower. It comes when you’re doodling or playing trains with your son. It’s when your mind is on other things.”
I couldn’t agree more. Over the years, I’ve learned that when I’m struggling with a manuscript, the best thing I can do is switch to a different project. (That’s the only antidote for writer’s block.)
I know from experience that a solution will come in its own time. All I have to do is
(1) be patient
(2) be ready
Because most of the time, the solution pops into my mind when I least expect it—while taking a walk, while driving, while drifting off to sleep, or, as Miranda says, while taking a shower.
Why do solutions come at such inopportune times? Because some part of my brain works on the problem while I continue on with my life and, eventually, it comes up with an idea. But that idea can only enter my conscience mind in those rare moments when I allow my thoughts to roam freely.
And when that moment comes and the solution pushes its way through, I have to record it before it floats away.
That means interrupting my walk and hurrying home, pulling the car to the side of the road, getting up out of a warm, cozy bed, and hopping out of the shower—naked and soaking wet—and dashing to the nearest notebook.
Kids are no different than me, which is why I think young writers should have a folder with several pieces of writing. On any given day, they should be able to choose which piece to work on. And as I’ve discussed before on this blog, all writers should let their rough drafts “chill out” before they dive into revisions.
Thinking is a critically important part of writing, and deep thinking takes time and a healthy respect for moments of rest.