- Procrastinate endlessly by reading. Research, you call it. Devour piles of books, aspirationally, stunned by the mastery, revving your intellect at full speed on a potent mix of coffee, terror and excitement at what can be done.
- Talk about how hard the writing process is going. Feel sort of tortured and writerly in a cool way for a second, only for the self-satisfaction to give way to judgment. If it's so hard, go to yoga or something, your inner critic derides.
- Read books on how to write. Classic delay of execution under pretense of preparation. See item 1.
- Bask in the immoderate ecstasy of A Thing About To Happen. Revel in the love affair between you and your idea, awed that the human animal is capable of such gloriously useless creativity at all.
- Tell your partner about this half-baked thesis that everything redeeming about humanity is contained, symbolized, in its capacity to love art.
- Drive from coffee shop to coffee shop in sun-drenched Marin to stave off the inevitability of your becoming a hermit, ordering overpriced bougie brews you never really finish. You do it for the ritual of the thing, you insist.
- Feverishly write down excerpts of your favorite passages from said "research" books, usually typed out in a swelling compilation in Evernote dubbed "Book Notes," but written by hand in your dirty purple Moleskine if the book in question is truly an aspirational work for you. Pretend the laborious handwriting imparts magical writerly powers to you. Delight in the fact that you've been doing this for years before this, before ever deciding to write this book, so you have plenty of material to look through. Never look through said material.