It's one of the great misapprehensions to assume that the only thing that writers are doing is to write. Obviously it involves writing, but that is actually just a small part of the whole picture. The most important, and often overlooked, part of the creative process is loafing. Yes, loafing.
That might sound like writers are just hanging around like lazy bums, and while we sometimes might really give an innocent bystander this prejudiced impression, this is quality time spent in the realms of our thinking and plotting minds. Alright now, that might sound as if we could just as well be serial killers, but yes, plotting is also a vital part of the writing process. But I digress.
So, let's differentiate the creative loafing a little.
There's the look onto the world outside, be it people watching or soaking up impressions of a trip into town, the supermarket, to church or any other place you can think of.
Then there's the look inside. That one comes along with gazing into space which often makes people wonder whether you're just distracted or simply bored, while the truth is that your mind is busy at work. This one will keep you up at night too. While some have trouble falling asleep thinking about bills that need to be paid or what to tell the boss about that project that needs to be finished by Thursday, and which you haven't even touched upon yet, the mind of a writer is fervently delving into a little world of their own creation.
Good thing all my bills are paid and the report I need to give tomorrow, well I'll just improvise, but falling asleep without giving this one particular scene some extensive thought? No way.
And when I finally do fall asleep, satisfyingly having brought the story along a step or two, I sometimes dream about it too. Hell, if those weren't my dreams I'd sure be jealous of anyone who has them. But creative dreaming, well that's a story for another day ...