“Writing progresses from a selfish act to a selfless act. In your first draft, the work should be an undertaking of pure selfishness—you are writing only for yourself. Don’t trouble yourself with anyone else—they will all come later. If the writing is difficult, and often it will be, take pleasure in the difficulty because it will remind you of why you’re writing. The difficulty is never greater than the control you have. In the end, the vitality of the work will overcome the difficulty. Remember this Gerald Murnane quote:
The writing itself is painful, but a worse pain comes from not writing. When I first conceive a work of fiction, I try to put off the writing of it because of the pain involved. But then the pain of knowing that the feelings and the imagery will never be expressed in words—then that pain becomes unbearable. And then I relieve the pain by writing.
After the work is finished, let it go. Don’t trouble yourself any longer—the work belongs to others now. Replace the control you had during the writing with relief.”
—Gabe Habash, author of Stephen Florida (Coffee House Press, 2017)