Neal Stephenson on process
From an interview
probably around 1999:
Q: How does the writing process work for you?
A: A good deal of the work that I do takes place in the background, which is a computer-ese way of putting it. It is a process that runs quietly at an unconscious level while I am doing other things and that goes on 24 hours a day.
The actual putting of words on paper might come out to 2-3 hours a day. I’ve found that from long experience that the best way to facilitate that process is to do that 2-3 hours of putting words on paper then stop and do something as completely different from writing as I possibly can. Specifically, to get it off my conscious mind. That can be just about anything. For me, what works is doing something of a practical nature. Playing around with technology is a convenient choice because I know how to do it and I can get the stuff I need pretty easily. Anything to get the hands busy and take the mind off the actual work in progress.