One of my barriers is believing that my experience is not sufficient to write a novel. My father’s criticism was precisely that—“What does he think he knows?” he asked his customers when he snatched my manuscript out of my hands. I am also aware that I have an incredible amount of experience and have known thousands of people and their stories. So I am very different than the boy my father was mocking. Spiritual leaders often point out that most of us don’t feel good enough—and that when we stay in the present that feeling goes away. Since good writing depends on the kind of confidence that comes from staying present, then staying present must be crucial for good writing. This sense of confidence certainly feels better than the old feeling of inadequacy which pushes me to compensate, to make up for the deficiency. That’s such a painful way to live and as a strategy, it doesn’t work.
The crazy thing is that my father never read a novel. So why do I give him so power. I have tried taking the picture and sound in my mind and push them further away and make it dimmer– NLP. So far I don’t think it has worked. But I am going to try EMDR next and see if I can scorch the memory. Emily Dickinson rarely left the house but gave us brilliant poetry. Besides I do think that we have the universe inside of us and that we are holograms of all creation.
Some very good novels have been written by people with very little experience. I just decided to reread Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. What did Steven Crane know about the Civil War when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage? He was born six years after it ended.