The above quote from James Thurber is perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice any writer should adhere to. It’s telling you to write down your ideas regardless of whether or not it’s perfect. Just get it down on paper or screen so that you have a framework to work with.
Your idea can be perfect but your initial implementation of that idea doesn’t have to be. In fact, can you imagine just how long it would take an author to put out a book if he attempted to make every written page perfect each time before moving onto the next? That’s what editing is for, so remember that.
So, that’s just what I’ve done. I whipped out my first draft for my first novel in a matter of months after a single, solitary idea popped into my head one night and lo and behold, I fashioned an entire book around one key idea. Oftentimes I couldn’t get the ideas out faster enough to the point where I had a backlog of chapters in my head, this backlog served as the perfect goalpost as the story I had to tell poured out of me like a broken sieve. I had plenty ideas in my brain and every time one popped up, I had to work out how my story would reach that point, and after enough instances of that I was sitting with a full-length book ready to be edited and fine-tuned.
Believe me when I say that having a completed draft to work with makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Do the characters and names have to stay the same? Do their motivations and agendas need to be fixed? Of course not. I guarantee you as you progress through your novel with each revision you will go back to change things or omit something in order to make your story all the more greater.
I’ve been editing my book for a number of years now and even though a lot has changed, the one thing that never did was the book’s core. So, tear a page out of Thurber’s book (completely metaphorical of course – he was a great American author), and just get it written!