The novelist and writing guru, Anne Lamott, says, "The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts." In her wonderful, comforting, inspiring book Bird by Bird, she says. . .
"What I've learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head. First there's the vinegar-lipped Reader Lady, who says, primly, 'Well, that's not very interesting, is it?' And there's the emaciated German male who writes these Orwellian memos detailing your thought crimes. And there are your parents, agonizing over your lack of loyalty and discretion; and there's William Burroughs, dozing off or shooting up because he finds you as bold and articulate as a houseplant; and so on. And there are also the dogs. Let's not forget the dogs, the dogs in their pen who will surely hurtle and snarl their way out if you ever stop writing, because writing is, for some of us, the latch that keeps the door of the pen closed, keeps those crazy ravenous dogs contained."
She then shares a little exercise a therapist taught her as a way to hush those voices. Basically, the exercise amounts to turning all those people into mice and dropping them into a glass jar and putting the lid on it.
"A writer friend of mine," Annie says, with her trademark wit, "suggests opening the jar and shooting them all in the head. But I think he's a little angry, and I'm sure nothing like this would ever occur to you."