Imposter!

Like so many other creative-types, I suffer from something called imposter syndrome.

It’s not a real, DSM-V disorder, mind you.  It’s just this feeling that many authors, musicians, artists, and creators have, this sense that you don’t deserve any respect or admiration for the things you create.  It’s this belief that folks are going to figure out you have no idea what you’re doing, that you’re a fraud only pretending like you know how to do this thing you’re doing.  And when they find out…well, they’ll expose you and decry you and exile you from society.

It’s a very frustrating, debilitating sensation.  It can cause you to hesitate, to consider yourself worthless (or at least worth less than you actually are), make you feel like you don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute.  It can stop you from doing the things you want to do, prevent you from putting yourself out there for fear of rejection and disgust from your audience.

Rejection may not even be the worst of it.  People hating something you’ve created is at least a reaction.  What feels worse in a way is the absence of any reaction: silence.  No one reacting one way or the other.  Feeling like you’re shouting out into an empty void, with only the echo of your own voice returning in response.  It’s a different type of rejection, one that’s harder to deal with in many ways.

I’ll probably always feel a bit like an imposter, no matter how successful I end up being in my endeavors.  It’s part of who I am.  In a way, it’s not a completely bad thing.  It pushes me to be better than I am, to work harder at my craft and learn from my mistakes.  It keeps me from becoming too complacent.  I just have to remind myself that these things I do – my writing, my songs, my comics – are for me.  The fact that some other people may also like them?  That’s just frosting on the cake.

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