The first act of insight is throw away the labels. In fiction, while we do not necessarily write about ourselves, we write out of ourselves, using ourselves; what we learn from, what we are sensitive to, what we feel strongly about—these become our characters and go to make our plots. Characters in fiction are conceived from within, and they have, accordingly, their own interior life; they are individuals every time.
This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron fillings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
Perfection is an unattainable goal. It isn’t going to be perfect. Just get words down on paper, and when you stumble to what you think is the end of the book, you will have hundreds of pages of words that came out of your head. It may not be perfect, but it looks like a book.