The absolutely best writing advice I ever heard came from a writer friend of mine who’s much more successful (about a million billion times), much better looking, and with a genius mind. She said, “Don’t worry about it being good. You can add inspiration later.”
Doesn’t it sound wonderful? As if inspiration is a condiment that you can spread over your food once you get it out of the oven. A sprinkle of salt over a bland dish, the rain of pepper on a lonely fish.
My friend is right. I’ve done this about a million times. Gone back to a scene and tweaked the dialogue. Changed the descriptions and made the story come alive. Hacked it and completely rewrote it, after I’d made all the necessary discoveries in the first version. And, this is the best thing: The saying works a bit like a placebo. Once you know that you can add inspiration later, you feel free to invent and move freely on the page, coming up with all kinds of goodies. Once you give yourself permission to just write, you do end up coming up with extraordinary stuff.
So this is the best advice I have for getting over perfectionism: When you’re writing your first draft (or just writing, period), tell yourself, “I’ll make this good LATER. Not now. Later.” There’s always a second, third, and fourth and so on draft. There may not be a real, sure fire way to get over perfectionism, but one way to do so is to TRICK it, and POSTPONE it.