Author Kelly Fineman has a fun post up this morning featuring quotes by writers on writing. I particularly enjoyed this passage from an essay by Marie Phillips, author of Gods Behaving Badly, about how important thinking time is to her writing process.
I’m not a comfortable thinker, however. What am I supposed to look at while I’m thinking? What should I do with my hands? Research is my favorite way to think, as it gives me something tangible to do. I like spending the entire day reading, and then sounding like a harassed intellectual to friends in the pub (“God, I’ve been reading all day, I’m knackered”).
. . . But reading is ultimately distracting as I’m dealing with other people’s thoughts, so sometimes I have to put the books down and just think. I think in the shower, doing the shopping, tidying the house, and I get vast amounts of thinking done on the bus. I think in bed, last thing at night and first thing in the morning, because being half asleep pushes open the door to my subconscious just that little bit wider. Mostly, though, I lie on the sofa and think (I have a special sofa in my study for this purpose – chosen by stretching out on all the sofas in Ikea to find out which one was the thinkiest). This causes untold problems in the pub (“God, I’ve been lying on the sofa all day, I’m knackered”).
I do my best pre-writing thinking in the shower, or while doing dishes. I used to take long baths when trying to puzzle out a knotty plot point, but now my bathtub is used by many small children. Having to clean the bathtub first would defeat the whole purpose.