I just read this amazing essay by author Rupert Thompson on The Atlantic website. He covers a lot of ground, and it’s all so important.
“To me, a first draft feels like a journey in two directions. On the one hand, it’s like driving along a motorway at night with no headlights: you can crash, you take wrong turns, it’s dangerous, you don’t know where you’re going to end up. At the same time, it’s like going down a mineshaft into yourself, as deep as you possibly can. Those things—covering ground and diving deeper—seem to happen simultaneously when you write a first draft.
It’s a frightening process—I seem to go through a place with every book where I wonder if I’ve wasted all my time, if the idea is totally flawed, and I’ll never bring it off. But the same way that “love entertains its own discriminations,” creativity does, too: You have to trust your instinct and your intuition. If you don’t, then every decision that you ever make is going to have to be rational. That’s impossible. Every page of a book has a million decisions on it, so if you don’t trust your intuition, you’re lost, you’re hamstrung.”
Invest 10 minutes and read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.