Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fighting That Feeling

On the heels of my last post, I'm going to confess something that I think a lot of writers feel at times - I sometimes feel like a fraud.

No, I don't mean that I'm plagiarizing anything.  What I mean is that I often wonder if I'm any good at writing, or if I'm just a charlatan.  Do those who claim to love my work really love it, or are they simply being nice?  Sometimes a clever twist of a phrase makes me feel good one minute, and the next I wonder if I just got lucky.  After all, it seems like anyone could've written that.

And when I look back at some of the garbage I've written...bleh.

What I have to remember, and most writers need to occasionally remind themselves of, is that such feelings are natural.  As we grow up, we're used to getting validation - our teachers, our parents, our coaches, etc.  However, with our writing, those authority figures don't really exist.  We have to rely on much more nebulous stuff, and it can create insecurity.  This often goes against the confidence/arrogance we tend to project.

In some ways, this can be a good thing.  It can lead us to better develop our writing, as well as make sure we're pumping out good stuff.  On the other hand, it can also lead to paralysis if we're not careful, agonizing over every word and refusing to put something out there for fear that other people will see right through us.

This phenomenon isn't limited to writers.  Studies have shown this to be common to people in every field of work.  Even the most successful feel that people will see them for the frauds they are.  I wish I knew, beyond insecurity, what causes this.  Maybe it's success we feel we don't deserve.  For whatever it is, it can be maddening.

I guess the takeaway is to remember that you're not a fraud.  Frauds get exposed.  Frauds rely on other people to do the work for them.  If you're putting your heart into what you write, then it's real, regardless of how you feel.

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