I find it very difficult to think about what I’m writing (and by that I mean, the actual words I’m going to write, not the content in general) when I’m not in front of the computer or with notebook and pen in hand. I can’t, for example, ponder what is going to happen next while I go for a run or bike somewhere. I just can’t focus on it.
So, what happens for my characters and the story they are involved in all happens as I write it. I sometimes do a bit of outlining, but not much and more for Nano purposes than anything else (there’s no excuse, then, not to sit down and write 1600 words a day, just move on to the next bullet point).
There are days, though, when I’m uncertainty with where the story is going, suddenly becomes reflected in my characters’ speech and thoughts:
There was nothing he could offer. He did think that she probably should be doing something, but he wasn’t sure what.
“I don’t know what else to do, Chris. I wish I could tell you there was some magic thing I could say and it would all be fine, but this is not like that,” she paused. “Somebody died.”
Of course, it’s fine for characters to occasionally express uncertainty. But it always seems like a bit of a sign that I don’t know where I’m going when they start saying it a lot.