Here I am with no day job other than writing (and being a good househusband) and still I feel pressured to produce, to get out the daily thousand words. And when a writer feels he has to work to a word deadline, the prose suffers. Pounding willy-nilly on a keyboard often equals garbage in, garbage out. It's the sort of "I don't know where I'm going, but I'm making good time," approach to writing.
One day last week, for example, I was pounding away on the keys with "no direction known" as Bob Dylan would say, when I thought, you really need to think about this before you go any further. I stopped. I put my head back and closed my eyes. Finding nothing back in there in the dark recesses of my brain except a beckoning nap, I opened my eyes and looked around my writing room and saw the books crammed into the bookshelves. Didn't I have another book on traditional navigation in Micronesia? I got up and looked. A few minutes later, I was pulling down The Last Navigator by Steve Thomas (of This Old House fame). I had bought it years ago, read part of it, and put it on the shelf.
Now as I leafed through it, dipping in here and there, I realized I had found the answer to not only one of my plotting difficulties, but also had uncovered a rich source of details of island life. I put the laptop aside and began reading. Three days and many yellow sticky notes later, I'm about to finish it. Flooded with new ideas, I should be ready to get back to pounding the keys tomorrow or the next day. No rush, really.