No, really, you don't want to publish that.
October 11, 2011 10:08 PM Subscribe
How do I deal with my impending success? Is there any way I can feel like less of a fraud, and can anyone who has been through this before give me tips to move the process along?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Anonymous because I don’t want to attach this question to my username, though I’m sure I’m not disguising myself very well.
I’m a writer in my late twenties. After trying for two years, I finally got a great agent for my novels. We’re going on submission at the end of the month. She believes in me and my book. I have wonderful, supportive friends. This week, I was lucky enough to attend a well-regarded writing workshop, and the instructors have been beyond supportive. Like really, I’ve been floored. One of them said that my writing is clearly at a professional level and they consider me a pro, despite not having any substantial sales.
The problem is that I feel like a complete fraud.
Online, I’m able to fake it pretty well. But this workshop has brought all these issues into stark relief. I don’t feel comfortable thinking of myself as a professional; I feel much more comfortable with the other students here (who are also at the beginning of their careers, though I’m the only agented author). Whenever I begin to feel confident in my abilities—and I do sometimes; I know I’ve worked both very hard and that I have certain gifts—I start to simultaneously feel guilty. I’m hyper-worried about creating a competitive atmosphere with my peers, or appearing ungracious, or full of myself. I also feel kind of like I’m some weirdo teenager. I’ve always had a hard time fitting into any kind of corporate culture, and so the idea of thinking about my career strategically terrifies me, too, even though I know it’s something I need to do. And I’ve always been shy—while I can fake confidence on the internet, the idea of faking it in person, at conventions and conferences and readings, is pretty scary too. I feel certain that people will be able to see right through me.
I’d love to hear stories from others who have coped with impostor syndrome, especially in writing specifically or the arts generally. Once you knew your career was going to happen, how did you accept it? And how did you whip your self-image into shape?