Caitlin here. So, yesterday, I didn't actually do any writing on my WIP. But I went on a 45 minute walk where I hashed out a number of plot problems and thought through a number of scenes. Does that count on working on my WIP? I'm undecided.
Certainly, we all realize, that daydreaming alone does not a novel make. But, when I spend time daydreaming on my commute, while I'm working out, while I'm waiting in line, when I'm doing mindless chores, when I'm painting my toenails purple, etc. etc. I think it makes the times that I actually do sit down to write MUCH more productive. I just need to expel everything that was already in my head. I think this is important throughout the entire process (final line-editing and proofreading being the exception). I'll even run scenes though my head that I've already written and revised and polished, and, you know what, sometimes the version in my head has a nice quip or an additional interchange of dialogue that I think, "I have to add that!" (This sucks when it happens after your book is out in the world, but that's another story...:) )
So, basically, daydreaming is a big part of my process and I think it's productive, but I realize I can't JUST daydream. What are your thoughts on daydreaming? Does it play any role in you process of do you sit down and tackle the blank page with a fresh mind?
Lisa: I think daydreaming plays a highly important role in the process. Daydreaming enables you to form less cliche characters, scenes, events. The first idea for a scene or character is usually not the most original idea. I actually tested myself on this recently. It took seven plot point ideas for me to get to the one I could see myself using.
Dan: My first reaction to this is the sheer relief that I'm not the only one who does it. Therefore, I vote that it does count as "writing time," even though it doesn't add to the word count. Modern life offers a lot of downtime -- driving in traffic, riding in elevators, waiting in line -- when it's not terribly convenient to whip out the laptop, but I can still flip on on the creative side of the brain.
Usually, I'll take advantage of such moments to plan what's next in my WIP, identify plot holes, invent backstory, etc. Later, when I do face the keyboard, I find that it's helped a surprising amount. I have a plan of action (even if it's just in my head) and that helps me jump into the writing itself.