The Truth In Fiction
Writing fiction is amazing as you get a chance to explore a great many truths while spinning tall tales. All fun and games, right? Not so fast. Through a fantasy world we can take a deeper look at the human condition, social injustice, and all those subjects that we like to ignore. We can climb into the dumpster of humanity and root around for a while to see what we dredge up without it feeling preachy.
As of late, I’ve been dealing with more of a fiction in truth so I thought I would share a bit of that experience. This feeling that I’ve been having lately is not a new one but it has risen to an all new level. It’s been around, like an old friend, for most of my life but ,unlike an old friend, it only brings crippling fear and self doubt. Not much of a friend but it is 100% committed to following me around so I figure I better learn to deal with it better. No longer is this an unidentified, mysterious feeling. It has a name.
So what is imposter syndrome? It’s the feeling that you are a fraud and that at any moment you will be found out. That you have skated through school, a job, a career, life on luck or a fluke. You don’t belong here… you’re not good enough… just wait until your secret is discovered. Even with evidence contradicting these feelings they just can’t believe that it’s true. All evidence to the contrary is thrown out with extreme prejudice while any faults or failures join a long list of concrete, irrefutable evidence proving the fraud.
This problem affects a huge portion of successful people at all stages of their career or life. So whether you are a struggling writer just beginning your career or a successful CEO of a fortune 500 company you can both believe these negative thoughts. Many great thinkers and highly regarded people think that they are frauds despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Just search the internet on this topic and you will be quite surprised by the names that pop up.
Are You An Imposter Or Just Feel Like One
So I guess I’m in good company with these feelings that keep me up until two in the morning. Where are these great thinkers at that time? We could have some interesting conversations. Lucky for me social media is a haven for authors and other friends who are also up at that time with their own insecurities. But as a writer who is still learning the craft and making many mistakes these feelings could be validating an actual truth. Maybe I don’t have the skills to pull this off but only time will tell that not the little voices in my head.
Like I said before, this is not a new feeling for me and when I look objectively back at my past the fiction doesn’t match the evidence. Not that I believe it. I didn’t accomplish much in high school but I got by. In college I worked hard and was rewarded with excellent marks. I worked hard to improve constantly and become a respected paramedic who did a lot of good in my career. But I always felt like a fraud. I could never take a compliment because I didn’t trust it to be true. They were just being polite. Criticism felt like it would cut to the bone as it only reinforced the critical voices in my head. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop can be exhausting.
What’s An Imposter To Do?
Just recently this reared its ugly head to a previously unexperienced level and derailed the writing train for awhile. So what now? If you’re new, inexperienced, and unlikely to trust any evidence you might have, what… do… you… do? You stop listening to those voices, you give the enemy a name, you put your but in the chair, and you finish the project you started. You can’t even broche the subject until you have finished something of consequence. So that’s what I am going to do. I’m going to finish this book and be the best damn imposter I can be. Oh, and I’m going to take comfort in the fact that there is an awful lot of imposters out there making their dreams come true every day.
I would love to hear about your journey or if you have any insecurities you’d like to share in the comments below.