Like many, many people, I have an inner editor problem.
I never finish 90% of what I start because instead of thinking about what comes next, I just keep thinking about how what I’ve already written can be made better. It’s all well and good to say that you need to free write or do sprints or drink (the linked post jokes about imbibing as a strategy, but it’s one of the few that actually helps, in my experience) or whatever, but 1) it’s a lot harder to actually do it and 2) those are all short term strategies. It’s exhausting to have to overcome the fucker every single time I try to write. What I need is a mindset change.
The other day I was wittering over some paragraph, trying to make it perfect, when I realized that I was acting like if I didn’t get it right now, I never would.
I think this impulse to edit in the moment instead of plowing ahead is, to some degree, motivated by worry that I won’t catch and fix what’s wrong with it when I go through on my next pass. But Future Me is actually a pretty good reader and editor — she’ll figure it out. So when I get stalled on a sentence that doesn’t flow right, or a scene that doesn’t quite tie into the theme of the story, or even a premise that I’m not sure is working anymore, I need to remind myself that fixing that stuff isn’t my job. It’s Future Me’s job, and she can handle it. I need to leave that job to her so that I can get on with doing mine.