Let me think.
Factoring in time to think, that will probably take about….
Think about that some more.
Wait. I'm thinking.
Hmm…but what do you really think?
The above are things I say at various points in the drafting, writing, revision, editing, or rewriting process.
I say them to myself.
Reminding myself about the need to factor in thinking time – as a preamble to the drafting time, within the writing time, around the editing time, as part of the research time, before and during the revision time – has become something I do now as a matter of course.
This wasn't always the case.
Time was, I didn't give a thought to thinking time. It happened, of course, but often as a side effect, a belated blip, the thing that popped up and slowed me down.
Now I try hard to recognize, and honor, the time we need to think. About how to approach a topic. About what a story is really about – underneath the topline situation, the this-happened-then-that-happened. About why I'm writing about some particular thing in the first place, and how I could make it better.
About what needs to happen on the page, about why I'm even at the page.
I'm also learning to take, or to ask for (or find a way to insert, quietly), time to think more deliberately before responding to requests, prospective projects, the occasional mean-spirited or disturbing comment, and to my own knee-jerk reactions.
But mostly, I'm now honoring the time that is a vital -- and largely undervalued and unrecognized – part of writing.
What do you think?