Topics, words, phrases, and descriptions. The tools of the writer.
Ever read the story of a master craftsman? Not the young kid; the prodigy that hasn't put in a lifetime of work. Think old, stooped, and slow. This person knows the tools. Each tool has a story that begins when they showed up for their first day on the job. Each manipulation of the material deepens the experience. Each stroke of work enriches the story.
The teamwork between the tool and the worker requires attention and patience and a struggle with the material being worked. Is it leather? Wood? A blank page?
Through fits and starts, ideas appear and become the direction. The original ideas transform, through the work like characters in a dream; like clouds in the sky. One minute a horse, then a unicorn, then a ram, then nothing. They become unrecognizable requiring a pause and a re-thinking about what it means to make progress. Is the direction still clear? Is there enough energy? Nah, put the tools down and call it day. Too tired to make meaningful progress.
That end of the day experience is not where you want to be when you have to start the work. It is, however, the best way to stay an amateur. Play first, then show up tired with tools ready to work only to fumble and stumble through your effort. Then, wonder why it feels so pointless.