Getting Shit Done Writing

Thinking time is writing time

Replied to No really, it’s work by Marie Brennan (Swan Tower)

In all seriousness, one of the trickiest things about writing as a line of work is the part that doesn’t look recognizably like work.

I’m currently in progress on a background project, and I’ve had to accept that as much as I would like to be charging ahead and putting words down on the page, doing that right now stands a high chance of producing material I’ll just have to cut later. I need to think.

The lack of a tangible sense of progress from thinking phases is totally a mental challenge of the writing process. I feel like learning how to do this, practically and mentally, has been part of my writing growth the last few years — not that I’ve totally gotten it figured out, but I find I need both active forms of making myself think about problems (free writing, excel sheet planning, brainstorming / mind-mapping, worksheeting) as well as just letting my brain have some stewing time. Reading books about writing is another adjacent thinking activity, because I can’t help but think about my book’s issues as I read craft advice. For a long time I thought I just needed to give myself the time, but months would pass without progress, so I’ve learned that I also need the active thinking processes to keep the problem top of mind and give me something new to chew on.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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