My husband was recently promoted. His new position has a lot more responsibilities, which involves a massive increase in his workload. He lamented that while he enjoyed having several new projects, just wrapping his head around them was taking time he didn’t have. What he needed was 4 or so hours built into every week where he could just contemplate, organize, and plot out the strategies for executing each project.

I can relate.

When I think about writing a book, I think about just that: writing. Then editing, then all the ancillary publishing details.

It’s hard to factor in thinking time.

At the beginning of a project, brainstorming the plot can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

I can plan for that.

What I can’t plan for are the fill-in brainstorming sessions.

I don’t start writing until I have a full outline, but stories don’t always evolve according to the outline. Or I don’t see flaws in an outline until I’m deep in the book. Stopping in the middle of writing to reassess takes time I wasn’t planning for.

I recently received beta reader feedback on my latest project. Some of it was simple fixes, but other critiques required me to shore up character motivation. It meant pealing back my character’s desires and flaws and digging deeper into them to make them more relatable. It meant nuancing thoughts and emotions into dialog and action since we can’t see in every character’s head.

It meant a lot of time in which I stared at the screen and watched the cursor blink.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I guess it’s just a friendly reminder to build in some contemplation time into your projects. Build some contemplation time into your life. You’re going to need it, even if you don’t plan for it.