Somedays, we tick by writing according to our inner schedule - some write on a schedule, others fly...I mean write...by the seat of their pants. We get lost in our stories whether they are non-fiction, fiction, or a mixture of both.
Giving our woes to our fiction characters helps us weather the storms and forget the pain while creating credible stories and characters. For some, writing fills gaps. We all have gaps and everyone fills them in different ways: a writer fills them by creating fantastic worlds where characters are chased up trees and have to find a way back down again.
Those are the ticks...but the tocks, wow, those are awesome! They sneak up on a writer in the wee hours of the night, in the middle of eating dinner, or at the stop light. Even driving to work, brushing our teeth, or waiting in line at the bank are all times when we hear the "tock" in writing.
Those unexpected moments are when we discover things - important things such as who our character really is, why our character refuses to come down out of the tree, what happens next, or another great idea for another great story even before we finish the WIP we are working on at the time.