Saturday, November 19, 2016


Put butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. Write every day. Stop procrastinating. Pull the plug on the internet. Make time.

There's merit to all these sayings; writing never gets done if we don't sit down and do it. That part of the process is under our control.

But for me, there's a part of the process that can't be forced, that doesn't follow the schedule of my will. Certain writing problems get worked out below my conscious level. I turn them over consciously, and when I start going in circles I let them be. I take a walk or do chores or sleep, and I can feel something percolating at the back of my mind, but I can't articulate it. I don't know the answer yet.

When the solution eventually seeps (or bursts) into my full awareness, it's a relief.

When I took a cognitive psychology course in grad school, one of the things I heard there was that the solution of a stubborn problem was often not so much about attacking the problem to figure out the answer, but stepping away and forgetting the wrong answers so the right solution was no longer blocked.

I haven't yet found a way to rush this process. I recently had a door open in my current project, and although I've been knocking at that door for a while, it seems that what I needed to open the door was simply time.


  1. This is a wonderful post, Jennifer! I also take walks and do chores to allow my mind to work in the background. I'm so glad a door opened in your current project. Deadlines are tough when a writer needs time to consider the possibilities in a project. Happy Thanksgiving!