In rehearsals, dancers will go over a section of a ballet endlessly, repeating the same steps over and over and over again until the ballet master is satisfied with the finished product. To save their legs, dancers will often “mark” a percentage of the run-throughs.
Marking is when a dancer just goes through the motions by walking the steps, counting the beats out with their hands, or not performing the jumps or turns completely. Different dancers mark a piece in different ways, but everyone does it at some point.
The problem with marking is that it can become a habit, and a dancer might think that marking a piece is as good as dancing a piece. It’s not. Nothing can take the place of dancing a number as hard and as fast as its supposed to be danced. Nothing.
While marking has its place, marking can never be dancing.
The same is true of writing. You can talk about writing. You can read about writing. You can dream of writing, but nothing can take the place of writing—tens of thousands of words written as hard and as fast as you can write them, full out and breathing hard. Writing that never stops, not in the daytime, not in the nighttime, not even in the dream times.
In dancing, it’s called marking. In writing, it’s called stalling.