A week ago I had a conference call with my freelance editor and at that time we decided the novel was ready for his final edit. I took a few days off of my normal writing routine and then took a look at what I'm calling book 2 in the current series. I'd previously written 18,274 words in the first draft and laid out the beginning of an outline.
After thinking through the plot lines I'd originally created I decided to go a different direction. After 5 days of work done mostly during early mornings before my day job, and a few evenings I'd gotten a good start on the next novel.
As luck would have it the day job got increasingly active, and now when I arrive home from work I'm spent. I learned something in a writing class a few years back, that I've come to rely on when time does not present itself for the pursuit of writing. What I learned is the use of my subconscious mind, while sleeping, to further develop the plot.
The way I go about using this technique is to engage myself in the story just before I fall asleep. I begin by thinking about what I've written most recently and what areas of the book I'm struggling with. While I sleep and rest my mind my subconscious mind takes over.
It may be a day later, or a week, or a longer period of time, but the answers come. Often times it's while I'm in the shower with a clear mind after a nights sleep that the river of thoughts begins to flow. Early in my writing career I used to rush to go write these thoughts down. Now I trust my mind and know if they are good thoughts that are useful to the story I will remember them.