While I very much like the idea of writing “shitty first drafts” and making something crummy and fixing it later, that’s not really how I write most of the time.
My process usually is: I procrastinate, endlessly, and work things out in my head, and then sit down and agonize sentence by sentence until the thing is finished.
Something that works better for me, especially since I draw and make visual art, too, is: “Just make something, anything.”
This is something a creative director said to me when I worked in marketing: Move from idea to manifesting the idea in some object as soon as possible. Doesn’t matter if it’s a shitty sketch on a napkin, or a model out of toothpicks, or a paragraph typed into the Notes app, or whatever it is, the important thing is to make some thing. When you have the thing, it’s out of your head and you can look at it for what it is, figure out what it needs to be.
For example, I was trying to work out a structure with the elements “Time, Space, Materials” and “Head, heart, hands” and “Past, present, Future.” My son was playing with a Spin Art kit he got for his birthday, so I used his discard pieces and made this dumb spinwheel thing that doesn’t even really make sense, but it was something, and something is better than nothing:
Now it sits on my desk, and I play with it and think with it while I still try to figure out the piecce.
The only trouble with this system is that I am an imperfectionist — I think most of things I make are most beautiful in their raw state, living in my notebook, and someone should just publish it as is! (My delusional dream is that one day my books will look just like my notebooks.)