I’m not sure I can write fiction.
Let me rephrase. I’m not sure I can write fiction anyone wants to read. I probably haven’t worked at it enough, and I won’t give up. My dialogue is unnatural. It doesn’t sound the way people talk. The characters don’t feel authentic.
Running through all of it is the doubt. Who am I to pretend to be a man? How can I possibly know how a man thinks or what he thinks about? Everyone will assume this is what I think. People will think these characters are them. My friends will be embarrassed for me. My sex scenes make even me blush. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?
This year, a student asked me if he had any talent and should he write? It doesn’t matter what I think, I told him. What matters is that you are compelled to write, and so you must. I can give you tips. I can teach you tricks. I can tell you what I would change, as your editor. But don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough or you shouldn’t.
I am unable to take my own advice. What kind of teacher can I be if I don’t live the advice I give?