They keep me awake at night. Characters whisper to me in dreams. Their voices might belong to a book I have yet to write. Or a story that keeps tugging at my imagination, refusing to let go. Even when I'm not sitting at my desk, it always feels like I'm writing inside my head.
When I'm working on a book, I scribble lots of doodles on paper. Here's Wendy, the pigeon outside Aaron's window in NARC.
My desk usually looks like this.
If I get tired of words, I go for a bike ride. It's my favorite solution to untangling a difficult scene. By the time I get home, I've usually found the answer.
A long walk is also a good way to tackle a revision letter. I plug myself into my iPod and daydream while the songs swirl around me (every work-in-progress has its own soundtrack).
On the subway, I catch bits and pieces of conversation. So many stories floating through the tunnels. Sometimes it feels like we're living in a movie with no end.
The airport is the perfect spot for daydreams. Everybody is rushing around, trying to get somewhere. But if you sit and listen, you'll find lots of writerly inspiration.
If you want to write, you should read as much as possible. Read constantly. Always remember why you fell in love with words. In that way, you're never taking a break. You're like Frederick in Leo Leonni's beautiful book....gathering sun rays and words for the winter.