Thinking Is Writing Too by Author Elizabeth Bailey

Please welcome author Elizabeth Bailey. She's talking about Thinking is Wriitng today.

Elizabeth Bailey grew up in Africa, where she loved reading and drama. Back in England, she
developed her career in acting, theatre directing and finally writing. Elizabeth is multi-published with Harlequin Mills & Boon; Berkley Books for the Lady Fan Mystery Series; and she is delighted to be able to publish work independently. She has just joined with four Regency authors in a box set, "Regency Quintet", and another five in an anthology, "The Chocolate House". She is currently writing the third Lady Fan novel, and will shortly be publishing a twentieth century romantic suspense novella.

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Writing is not always about sitting at the keyboard and bashing out words. You have to let ideas pop up. When they do, they need to germinate before they will start frothing enough for you to churn out a story.

A writer called Burton Rascoe once said, “What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.” How true!

Beginning writers generally operate on the basis that “work” is done when they’re actually sitting down and doing it. With writing, this is asking for a miracle and a horribly blank mind. No writer begins a story without having some idea of what it’s about.

Stories on the go have a tendency to jump around in the writer’s head when they are in the bath, in the car, on a walk, even while watching TV or a movie. Also, annoyingly, in bed when you're trying to sleep - it can start leaping about and going places. If this happens, let it run - it's all good stuff.

This is what thinking time is, and it’s all part of the writing process. It’s thinking without having to sit and decide to think! It’s that imaginative spark that is set free so it can run without effort. And it won’t happen if it’s forced at the keyboard.

So it’s worthwhile to let your imagination have free rein at any time it starts to generate ideas. For example, during a meal, in the car, on the train. It’s a good method of whiling away a journey.

In the bath, when I am relaxed, is one of my favourite times for developing stories. I can sometimes be heard talking out loud, as the characters, working out some tricky plot point.

Other people may also spark ideas, but I’d suggest sticking with a fellow writer if you want to bounce ideas off someone. They understand. Non-writers are liable to suggest outrageous plot points that don’t fit your story, or try to persuade you to incorporate elements from their lives that they feel would make a fantastic bestseller! The key thing here is that any offers of plot points need to spark the ideas in your own head, otherwise the story won’t buzz for you.

Here’s the thing, though. Memory is a wayward customer, so I would encourage you to jot down the general points, or make a digital note somewhere as soon as you can once the thinking time starts paying off. I've lost more plot points by not writing it down than I care to remember – because I can’t remember them.

I have filled several small notebooks with ideas, and occasionally I browse through them. Anything used is crossed out, so I can’t use it again. But I’ll jot names, plot points, characters, germs of an idea – anything, just so I’ve got it there when I need it. Because when I haven’t done this, I’ve always come to regret it.

Usually when the plot starts rolling like this, it hasn't got much to do with the bit of the story that’s currently being written. That doesn't matter. The important thing is to get it written down somewhere and let it sit there, because it will be growing in your writer’s head without you realising it.

When you get back to writing the story, you will find the plot points you’ve thought about start to get built into the story without any real effort on your part. You might not even have to look at the notes.

And if they don’t get used, they may well be picked up for another story later on. Ideas are never wasted.


An Undesirable Liaison 

In the tradition of Regency Romance, scandals past and present unravel in the path of destiny.

Caught by an overwhelming attraction to her new employer, Florence struggles against temptation. Can Jerome withstand Florence’s allure, when his desire can only mean her ruin?

Buy links:


Amazon UK




  1. Excellent advice, Elizabeth. I do have a brain-storming friend who isn't a writer but who is brilliant at making suggestions when I'm stuck. She knows (and isn't offended) that I'll take what I need from some suggestions but won't use others.

    1. You are so lucky, Paula! Perhaps your friend is an imaginative person anyway and might turn into a writer herself some day. Often husbands can be helpful too, I've heard, especially if they are willing to read a draft.

  2. All good advice. And I do so relate. I get ideas at the craziest moments. I pack a pen and notebook with me everywhere I go - well, except the shower or while gardening. :-)

    1. Oh, I know what you mean! Those bathroom ideas can wash away all too easily if you don't get them down quick.

  3. Great post. Now...I need to go think for a bit...

  4. Yes! This is exactly true! When I'm writing and the words aren't coming, I know I have to take a break and re-think things through. Thanks for the post! Wishing you much success!

    NAS - I took a look at your Thriller Review blogs. Great idea!


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