‘Just write anything’ they say.
‘Set a timer and write without thinking about it.’
Advice on writing and productivity is all around us, and it’s all advice that has worked quite well for me in the past. It’s even advice I’ve given to others.
It’s just that at the moment, nothing seems to be working for me.
I sit down to do one (important) thing and end up doing other (unimportant) things. I feel restless and listless. I look out the window a lot and daydream.
Writing in my journal feels pointless and self indulgent. Writing a lecture feels difficult. Writing my thesis seems insurmountable.
I feel like I’m surrounded by this mental fog and I can’t see far enough ahead to find a way out of it. So I keep wasting time; backtracking and going in circles.
But it’s only fog. I know it will dissipate. Once I see even the smallest glimmer of activity in the distance, I’ll move towards that.
I’m just waiting for the right conditions.
Of course, some people will argue that we can always create the right conditions: the same people who would tell me to ‘just sit down and write’ as if that hadn’t actually occurred to me.
No, I know that the fog will clear in time.
And until then I’ll keep moving through it, even if that means backtracking and going in circles.
Waiting while moving. Moving while waiting.
And at some point, I trust that the fog will clear and I’ll come out the other side.
Ready to face the day; ready to write.
Finding time and space to write can be challenging, but finding time and space to *think* about what you’re going to write is the far greater challenge.
Thinking Time is my regular(ish) letter about productivity, positivity, and (ugh) procrastination, and is dedicated to writers and students who want to get more (thoughtful) writing done.