I Like It Rough
First drafts, that is. You thought I meant something else, didn't you?
I like my first drafts rough, messy, out of order, virtually unrecognizable as books. I know I'm in my deeply creative mode when I'm not thinking of anything but the story. And when I'm that far into the story, I don't worry about form or spelling or in what order the scenes come to me. I just write it all down. I do edit some as I go now, but I don't think of it as editing at the time. It's more like erasing a sketch line and re-drawing it.
The more books I write, the less messy my first drafts are. The editing process has worked its way more and more into my creative process, but I never would have gotten my early books written this way. I had to give myself permission to make a huge mess. Sometimes I could clean it up afterward, and sometimes I couldn't. But it was all part of developing as a writer.
I think this process is very much like give art supplies to a small child. Early on, all they can do is make a mess, scribble, smear paint in their hair...but it's wildly fun to them. And slowly, they learn. Years pass, and eventually they can not only clean up their creative messes--they can even create recognizable works of art.
If you're an aspiring writer, give yourself permission to make a horrible mess of your naked page. It's all part of the process.