Don’t think. Just write.
This should be my motto. I want it to be–I want it to be the shape of my career. See, my dream for my career (at least starting out) is that I just crank out draft after draft, fast and simple, and then edit and revise and publish with more thought involved. Instead, because of my desire to publish as fast as possible, I try to frontload all of my projects with tons of mental editing for publication. And this means that most of my projects never see a word, because some quibble from some imagined publisher (or imagined audience) stops me cold.
If I’m going to just churn out drafts, I have to stop thinking so much–I have to just write. But the problem I have with that is the fact that writing is mostly thinking. Unlike playing an instrument, or a sport, or painting, writing involves very little of a rote physical skill–just typing, basically. Once you have that mastered, then it’s just about producing your thoughts in words, sentences, chapters, stories. All other art also involves the same raw creativity, but there are physical skills to learn and practice that do not, in theory, require as much thought.
How do you just write blindly? I could open up a Word document and start typing words, and maybe they’d slowly shape themselves into a character doing something, and I could try to follow a very basic series of events, but at some point to make it actually interesting (and to keep it going day after day to the length a novel would require), I have to think about what I’m doing and where I’m going. Or I at least have to think about what I’m not doing. Is it impossible? No, of course not, people do it all the time. In fact, some would argue that’s what the muse is for, where she works best, when it’s in the heat of the moment and the thrust of the story. But I don’t know that I can do that.
What I take from this motto, if I can’t quite commit to it completely, is the idea that I have to stop judging my ideas so harshly at the beginning. I have to stop guessing what other people would say about it, and I really have to stop caring what they say about it. I have to stop demanding that my ideas be 100% original, that they be exactly what I would love writing and nothing else, that they be perfect.
Think a little bit about what your story looks like. And then just write.
(Or write endless amounts of crappy ‘articles’ on writing to pretend like you’re doing something.)