As well as the time spent at the computer actually writing, an author needs thinking time. Time in which to mull over possibilities for the location of a particular scene: where would this work best: a ballroom, a city street, an inn? Or maybe to work out how characters will react during a furious argument, or a declaration of love.
Many authors find water an aid to inspiration. Not necessarily drinking it, but perhaps lying in a bath, or walking by the sea in all it's varying moods. I love to do this. There is something about water that encourages the mind to drift and it’s in that daydreaming state that some of my best and most vivid ideas spring to life.
But what also works well for me is ironing. It allows me to “tune in” to the world of my story and listen to my characters’ conversations. I also “see” them: what they are wearing, the expressions on their faces, their body language as they react to one another. I make sure I have a notebook nearby so I can scribble it all down while it’s still fresh in my mind. The towering pile of neatly pressed clothes and bedlinen is a bonus.
Devil's Prize Robert Hale January 2008