Stolen shamelessly from The Blog of Henry David Thoreau:
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Thoreau's Journal: 06-Sep-1841 Some hours seem not to be occasion for anything, unless for great resolves to draw breath and repose in, so religiously do we postpone all action therein. We do not straight go about to execute our thrilling purpose, but shut our doors behind us, and saunter with prepared mind, as if the half were already done.
Sometimes, in a writing project, you realize that you're not so much procrastinating (although there's always lots of that) as gestating. There's an idea there. You can feel it, even though it isn't formed enough to come out on the page in any sensible way.
If you start by freewriting about it (pace the freewriting advocates), you can send yourself in a direction where your original idea disappears and you can't get it back. It's wrong, I think, to consider freewriting something harmless you can throw away if it doesn't work. Although this may be true for some, for others of us, freewriting etches a path that leaves a trace in the brain even if you throw away the words. You're left knowing that you had a better idea but not knowing what it is. Some would say that the idea on paper, completed, is better than the idea in the brain: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But wouldn't you rather give that other idea a chance, if you can?
So sometimes, especially when the weather is so perfect that staying inside takes a physical act of will, you'll find yourself refusing to execute your thrilling purpose and sauntering about with a prepared mind. And, despite advice from all the writing gurus (I'm looking at you, Germano), that's all right, too. Thanks, Henry David.