Getting the hang of writing is a process. You basically have to teach yourself to sideline mistakes, and trust yourself to catch them later. This has been an extremely difficult thing to teach myself. I am finally getting the hang of it though, the training wheels at least.
A couple of good saying for writers of any stage, but especially new writers are, “Give yourself permission to fail”, and “Perfect is the enemy of done”. This post is talking about those two things in particular. Do you want to write a bad and/or incomplete book? Neither do I, nor does any writer worth their fingers. But part of learning to become a writer is tempering your work ethic in specific ways so that you can actually get the work done instead of hamstringing yourself with continual revision.
My current exercise is “Make a note, move on, keep going”. Here’s what happens. I sit down to write, start building the scene in my head, and words start flowing. As I write these scenes down, the story starts to flow. From time to time, the flow gets caught by a huge boulder of confusion. This boulder can be any number of things, a name I haven’t thought of, a side character or main character that I hadn’t considered needed to know a certain thing, an environment that wasn’t built as detailed as I need, a character decided to take a turn down an alley, corridor, etc. that I had not expected, a new character is suddenly needed and I never developed them.
When I first began writing, I would sit and think and brain storm on the spot, until I had figured out what I needed at that particular spot I got stuck at, often times ending up mentally writing the book and going off into tangents which weren’t needed. But what I soon realized was, I was trying to move the boulder out of the river, instead of following the current around it. Anyone who’s ever been canoeing or white water rafting knows what a fool hardy venture fighting the current can become.
This current exercise of making a note and moving on, is the equivalent of dodging a rock, submerged tree, heavy rapid, etc. It’s an obstacle which hampers the flow of the writing. When that flow is broken, the reader’s flow is also broken. But more importantly, it can stop the momentum you’ve built up. That momentum can be essential to finishing what you started. So to keep that story pouring out, recognize, and dodge those obstacles that come your way.