It was extraordinary, because I had never planned to write for children. Harry came to me immediately, as did the school and a few of the characters such as Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost whose head is not quite cut off. The train was delayed, and for hours I sat there thinking and thinking and thinking....The irony is I almost always have pen and paper; I write all the time. And on this one occasion when I had the idea of my life, I didn't have a pen. For four hours my head was buzzing. It was probably the best thing, because I ended up working the whole thing out before I got off the train.
- J.K. Rowling, recalling when she was caught in a railway car between Manchester and London in 1980.
[Source: "Eureka," an article by Mathew Honan and Nick Waplington in Wired, April 2008.]
Although we have a sense of immediacy when it comes to writing things down, I've learned to let things simmer a bit. The original thought may be the meat, but you need time to develop the flavor. So although I myself might commit pen to paper on the spot, still takes me a while to convert it to bits and bytes. The original base ingredients are there but how they've changed....
You're right. That simmering process can be crucial. The thought needs time to form. I like that "develop the flavor."
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