This is why my favorite quote on writing comes not from a book about writing but from a book about meditation—The Way of Transformation: Daily Life as Spiritual Exercise by Karlfried Graf von Dürkheim. Though he wrote about Zen meditation practice (and unfortunately in a sexist way), most of what he says applies to the practice of writing as well:

“Only to that extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring….

"Thus the aim of the practice is not to develop an attitude which allows a man to acquire a state of harmony and peace wherein nothing can ever trouble him. On the contrary, practice should teach him to let himself be assaulted, perturbed, moved, insulted, broken, and battered….

"Only if we repeatedly venture through the zones of annihilation can our contact with the Divine being, which is beyond annihilation, become firm and stable.”

To write honestly is to pass through the “zones of annihilation.” It is to be “assaulted, perturbed, moved, insulted, broken, and battered.”

And if you’re willing to undergo all that—to see whether your ideas can survive the purging fire of editing—then you can emerge with something that’s firm, stable, and worth sharing with the world.

Michael E Brown @brownstudy