Maybe I’m Just Faking It
Sometimes I think even my imposter syndrome has imposter syndrome. In the last few months I’ve gotten into several anthologies, have spoken at a writing conference, and have a manuscript being submitted to publishers by my agent. I’m quite proud of the stories that will be published. I’m delighted to share knowledge at the conference. I dream of having a published book. Everything should be great, right?
Well… maybe not quite so much. I have a confession. I’m pretty much always ready to downplay my achievements. If I get a story into an anthology, I’ll be very excited, and then worry about how I haven’t done more. Maybe it’s a small anthology. Or I’ll beat myself up because I don’t have a novel published (yet!). And this is something I notice that I do a lot. And it’s something I’m also trying to recognize and change. It is easy for me to slip into worry that what I’ve done ‘isn’t enough’ but it ignores how much I have done. And it ignores that this is a journey, so I’m not required to be at the finish line right now.
One of my favorite authors, Leigh Bardugo, once spoke about how success can always be a moving target, and I feel that on so many levels. It’s true. If I’m not careful, I can always slip into thinking about what I have yet to succeed at. It’s a fine balance between staying motivated and constantly beating myself up for not having ‘done more’ (regardless of how much I have achieved).
And I bet I’m not the only one. So often my creative friends talk about oscillating between feeling like a talented, creative individual who makes great works and feeling like a failure whose work is terrible. I know I go back and forth on that. One day I write a great scene! The next day I get a bunch of rejections! What a rollercoaster!
But everyday I am working on becoming more content and more confident with who I am and what I do. I haven’t reached the finish line with my goals, but I am making progress towards it. I’m learning, accomplishing, and even getting to the point where I can give back to the community. And if you also deal with imposter syndrome, I feel you. I get the struggle. And I hope you can also realize that you are on the right path, even if that isn’t always clear all the time.