I've written about this life-saving John Irving quote before (and no matter what you think of Irving, you'll love the quote, I bet). He says if you don't feel you are on the edge of humiliating yourself, if you don't feel you've lost control, then you aren't digging deep enough. You aren't putting enough blood on the page. You aren't risking enough, and if you aren't risking, why write? Somehow this quote is something I cling to. It gives me permission to make a mess, to write pages that I know I will throw out, to risk failure before I find any success.
For me, too, what I cling to is that one obsessive idea that began this novel--this one thing I have felt compelled to write about. I can't yet find the right shape for it, but in writing, I know I will. If I can just burrow down, write more, live with the anxiety, I know I can.