These little bundles of potential have been sitting on my shelf for about 4 months, until I finally had enough of admiring them while I write and started on a scarf (there were originally three). It's not often I buy wool with no 'project' in mind, but these were just so pretty.
Which brings me to my metaphor:
My ideas for writing are these balls of wool. I bring them home, very pleased with them and excited about their potential. The colour and texture are lovely, but with the yarn all rolled into a nice even, compact ball, it seems a shame to undo them, so I sit them on my shelf. I admire them from my desk, but don't touch them.
Then, after they've collected some dust, I look over one morning and think, 'They look nice, but I'm really going to have to do something - anything - with them.' It's time they were put to use.
So I take a skein of perfection, find the loose end and unravel it a bit. A nice simple scarf should show this wool off best. I try crochet, because that's my preferred yarn-based activity, but it's not right for this type of wool, so get out my knitting needles. Cast on a few stitches, and then realise how much work I've got ahead of me (I'm a very slow knitter).
After five or six rows, I'm usually thinking 'Oh God, this is so boring' and go looking for something more interesting to do. Have a cup of tea. I sit down again (maybe days later) and do a few more rows.
After a while, I look at my uneven stitches and think 'Nope, this is awful. It isn't going to work. I should have left the wool rolled up and perfect.' But it's too late! The ball of wool is half used up, warped and deflated. I've ruined it -- even if I unravelled my scarf and rolled the wool up, it wouldn't be the same. (There may or may not be a dummy-spit here).
But half a scarf is no use to anyone, so I keep going, and about one-third through I'm thinking, 'Hmm, it's not looking so bad, and I think I got the width right.' I decide it's worth finishing, and by the time I cast off, I'm fairly happy with my scarf.
It may not be as perfect as a ball of wool, but it's more useful, and far more interesting.
Of course this is where my metaphor stops, because with a story, at least once you've finished it you can go back and edit and fix up the dropped stitches. Whereas all you can do with a lumpy scarf to make it look better is tie some tassels on the ends.