Those Moments When Ideas Come Along

Writers often get asked, “How long do you write every day?”

But some of the most important things that happen when I’m writing happen when I’m not at my writing desk. The next crucial plot twist, a fundamental insight into a character’s past, a stunning sentence that only this particular character could have uttered… these crucial developments or revelations don’t usually arrive when I’m actually writing. More likely they come when I’m washing up, or dog-walking, or even sitting in a cubicle in what might otherwise appear to be a state of brain death, as far as can be imagined from a state of Romantic inspiration.

But for those gifts to come to me, I do have to be able to devote a certain number of hours of the day to consciously poring over the manuscript in question. Without this conscious toil, my subconscious will not be sufficiently exercised by the material to come up with the needed goods. Alas, the subconscious knows nothing of deadlines. It may give me the middle of the story years after it gives me the beginning. And if it never gives me the ending, I may end up having to fake it…
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