Fighting Impostor Syndrome

I released the first issue of my zine last weekend, and ever since I’ve been fighting off the creeping impostor syndrome. Even on the night of publication, when I was handing it out to other zine creators at Orlando Zine Fest, I was fighting the little voice in the back of my head saying negative things, telling me my work wasn’t worth it, that I was wasting my time. The fact that I’ve only sold one copy of the zine since release adds fuel to this fire. Today in particular it is really bad, almost crippling. Even writing this post is taking great effort, because what’s the point anyway since nobody cares?

I hate impostor syndrome. It’s debilitating, cynical, surreptitious, and incapacitating. It’s also irrational, which makes me even more furious when I succumb to it. Logically I know that I should just ignore it, do my thing and enjoy doing it. I have my days when I can just shake it off. Today isn’t one of those. I know I’ll be okay later on, but ugh, right now it’s like an iron ball tied around my neck weighing me down.

At times like this I remind myself over and over that I create for myself, that I write because I need to write. (There’s a bit of a lie buried in there because I do like sharing my work with others and find satisfaction when people actually read my work, which is why I publish it.) I’m my own audience to a great extent, and if I’m happy with what I create, then the primary goal has been achieved. Take that, impostor syndrome.

I’ll be okay tomorrow, and go back to working on new essays, new stories, new words. This is my promise to myself.

4 comments

  1. I care 🙂

    What calmed impostor syndrome for me (you can never completely kill it) was having to create for a living. Whether I think something is any good or not, if it doesn’t get published we don’t eat. Some people think that makes me less of an artist and more of a hack. I’m still a creator, because I have created. I try to focus on the fact that writing has kept a roof over my head on those days when I’m certain that everything I’ve ever done is garbage and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world figure it out.

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  2. We’re all imposters. Your best hero is an imposter. Just a human with a thousand failings presenting the best face they can. Fortunately people rarely see under that face, rarely even look.

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    • Reading that Neil Gaiman, NK Jemisin, Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, etc all faced the same helps alleviate it when it strikes hard. I wrote that yesterday, and today I already feel better. Thanks for the pep talk.

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