A friend asked me yesterday how to face the blank page without getting frustrated that it’s going to take time and many rewrites to get it right. I told her that the process itself is comforting.
She laughed, and asked if I had any advice on how to learn to love the process. Here’s what I told her:
Most of the great writers out there talk about “writing is rewriting.” C.J. Cherryh (one of my favorite writers of all time) says “it’s perfectly acceptable to write crap, provided you revise brillantly” or learn to. Knowing it’s a process takes away the need for perfection right away! Plus when you can’t make it any better you can send it to beta readers who will tell you where it’s unclear and how to make it better. Process means it can be a team effort. Process means you don’t have to run the whole marathon at once, you get to walk a little each day. Process takes the pressure off, because once you’ve been through it a few times and been happy with the result (as I have) you realize you don’t have to see the end result perfectly, you just have to see and understand (and do) the next step. The next step is doable. The next step is easy. Then you figure out the next one.
Perfectionism is the enemy of the creative self, and process is its friend. Hope that helped.