The Idle Brain.

Sometimes when we're not writing, it can be frustrating. But the answer to this conundrum is sometimes counterintuitive;

Give in.

Give in to not writing. Get up. Wash the dishes. Go outside for a walk. Take a long shower. Go out for coffee (without your writing) and people watch. Live life.

Then get back to it.

You see, when you think your brain is idle, just ticking along in neutral, making your heart beat and your lungs expand and contract and all that day-to-day business, it's actually chewing on what you put into it. It's not on the surface; you can't track the work your brain is doing and you're not even aware that its doing it. But it is.

In fact allowing the idle brain to do its thing without you bothering it may be the height of creative efficiency. 

The brain is a monstrous thought engine. It has many sections and layers and parts of it work all the time, even when you're asleep. So when you feed it a problem, like what to do next in a particular story, it may not give you an answer right away but it will work on it. And work on it. And work on it. And then, you will have what feels like a burst of inspiration. It will happen while you're in the shower, or it will wake you in the middle of the night and send you scrambling for your phone or a notebook. It will come while you're lying in the grass at a park or shopping for groceries.

And that burst of inspiration is the result of you having allowed the idle brain to do its work. It's like the pop-sproing of a thought-toaster. Your brain breakfast is ready.

And rushing or pushing the answer won't make your brain work any faster. It is already working as fast as its going to. So instead of waiting, slick with sweat, in front of your laptop, you might as well just give in. 

Just let the idle brain do its work.