The other day, my friend Paul posted this video on his Facebook page, which prompted an interesting discussion. So I thought I'd share it here (with permission).
FB Friend Paul: He definitely hits on an interesting point, though I absolutely hate his solution of setting deadlines, because, in my mind, setting deadlines turns creative work into purely work that has to get done rather than what it should be: art. A project should never be done till you say it's done, not your calendar.
Me: Amen to that. I am also not a fan of deadlines. The minute you turn something you WANT to do into something you HAVE to do, that's death.
Paul: Exactly! In my opinion, the way to improvement is careful analysis of what you have versus how you initially envisioned it in your head, and then thinking of how you can get what you initially envisioned out into your work. It's a slow process, but it must be slow. Otherwise you'd lose crucial detail and insight.
Me: Hmmm. Maybe that's why it's taking me a geological epoch to finish one book . . .
FB Friend Rob: Don't think of a deadline as a deadline. Think of it as a milestone. The deadline for the first draft doesn't mean the "art" is finished; it just means you're committed to finding some kind of a path to the end of your story in that timeframe. I agree with Orson Scott Card that there are ten million wrong ways to tell your story, and probably about a thousand right ones, and so you're a lot more likely to find one of the crap ways before you find a good one. A deadline isn't about artificially forcing the art; it's about motivating yourself to get past the crap.
Me: You're right Rob, but that's much easier said than done for a perfectionist like myself (yes, I know I have issues).
Rob: The trick for me was that I had to give myself permission to write crap. If the story's worth telling, then it's worth telling badly the first time.
I love it when I can get my friends to write my blog posts :-) Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to plow through one of the ten million wrong ways in order to find one of the thousand right ones.