I love reading about process, talking about process, hearing about process and applying processes to problems. So much, that I think it may be a problem sometimes. I was reading the first couple of chapters of Twyla Tharp's book "The Creative Habit" (I just started, I'll report more as I finish...) and she writes about some of the fears that can potentially shut down the creative act before it begins. I began thinking, a big one for me is "I may not do it right". This is subtly different than "I don't know how to do it". "Do it" implies ignorance while "do it right" implies fear.
I can take the idea of "doing it right" to the nth degree sometimes. There was a time when I would spend hours trying to design a practice routine and never practice because I was concerned that my routine was not "right". I am happy to say that I have gotten past a lot of this (knock Mac...) with regards to practicing and playing the saxophone, but I still run up against it in composing. When I start a new piece (or tune) my mind will always begin putting up parameters: Modal thing, Rhythm Changes thing, ECM thing, Tune on a standard's changes etc. Now, very often this is a wonderful tool and I get good results from using it but what I dislike about it is that it puts my mind into a judgmental place: "that line doesn't fit", "it's not hip enough". Very often, it doesn't and it's not but a teacher of mine told me that we should write the music that catches our interest (or words to that effect). The short of it is I let myself get caught up in the world of "should" instead of the world of what is. If I hear and like something that is of a major tonality - I should write a major tonality, not try to force the idea into a preconceived idea of what the tune "should" be.
I will always use processes and rituals (more on that later) but I have to be careful not to force or bully the music in the guise of "following the process".