Good writing comes from a mentally relaxed place: the mantra I repeat to myself, first gleaned a few years ago from Susan Swan's essay in Dropped Threads. So simple, so basic. Good writing comes from a mentally relaxed place.
I've been approaching the work lately from an uber-analytical place. I'm revising a novel. I'm looking at it with judgmental eyes, mapping it out, finding its holes, determined to get a hold on this thing once and for all. I'm trying to maintain rigid control of my material because I want to get it right this time, dammit, I want all my characters and plotlines to add up to the right thing, to work. Before I even begin, I want to control the outcome of every sentence, to be sure that each paragraph and scene is going to make the book better and never be edited out. I'm really tired of devoting a lot of time and mental energy and emotional focus to stuff I end up editing out.
I need to rediscover, I realize from this brick-wall place, that space of freedom to meander, discover, fail.
Approaching a revision of a novel that I've been convinced more than once was finished and then realized was not, permission to fail (again) is not something I've been all that gung-ho about allowing myself.
But today, a start. A few hours in a cafe, a comfy chair instead of the hard table, a notebook and pen instead of the laptop. I deliberately relax, let my mind wander, release my charts and outlines, and explore.
I write multiple pages of rambly scenes that will probably never end up in the book.
I keep my pen moving.