I’m sitting here, trying to write something that explains the Imposter Syndrome, which, as it turns out, is an actual thing. Who knew?
I thought it was just me.
It’s a phenomenon where an artist (that’s you) thinks they are guilty of fraud, in some way, because they are convinced that someone will discover they are not really an artist, not really creative, or not really as good as they should be.
And, well, it’s a lie.
The imposter in this scenario is the voice that is telling you that you aren’t good enough. It’s the voice that tells you to wait. It’s the voice that prevents you from creating. It is the anti-artist.
And, well, it’s a lie.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I would suggest that you’re one of two things:
- Living alone, on an island or in a cave
Because it’s part of human nature to experience the imposter’s voice. Imposter Syndrome is named after the artist FEELING like an imposter. But I disagree with that premise. The imposter isn’t the artist; it’s the anti-artist. Because we are all meant to create. And creating is fundamental to human nature. Any voice or thought that tells you that you should be afraid of creating, because someone else will find out you’re not a very good artist is a liar.
Nobody really knows where the imposter’s voice comes from, but it’s inside all of us. And it’s a liar. And it deserves to die.
Because you’re not a fraud. You’re an artist. You are a creative mind. And that should be the primary voice in your head.
The best part is, it’s super easy to quiet the imposter. You just stop feeding it. That voice that is trying to convince you that you’re a fraud really needs you to listen to it. Because it feeds on you anxiety, your lack of confidence, and your inaction. The longer you are not creative, the stronger that liar becomes. Action quiets the imposter.
Don’t misunderstand; just because you start to create your art, just because you “write your truth” (someone get me some anti-hippersperant) does not mean you will be free from the imposter. In fact, just like anything, when the imposter senses danger, it will lash out, stronger, harder, and more viciously. Because it doesn’t want to die.
And you’ll suffer for that. You’ll hear the doubts ring louder in your head. You’ll convince yourself that you were foolish or stupid to even try. You’ll cling to every mistake as an excuse to not continue to create. And then you have to dig deep and continue to create.
The longer you create, the less effective the liar is. The liar doesn’t ever go away completely. Your favorite writers, every single one of them, deal with the imposter regularly. The difference is: They don’t let the imposter win. They create. They use that liar as incentive to improve their craft. They elevate their art. And so can you.
I’m rewriting the end of this piece, because Rekka said she didn’t necessarily agree with my original conclusion. And, as I reread it, I think she was right. Because my original conclusion was that you can, in fact, kill the imposter. (I am keeping the title, though, because I like it…so there).
But, upon reflection, I realized that the imposter is never dead. It might be quiet and ineffective. But it won’t die.
But that’s no excuse not to create. Art exists in spite of and, in many cases, because of the imposter. So maybe you can’t or won’t kill the imposter. But you can make it feel insignificant and impotent.
The voice that matters is your voice. Not the imposter’s.
So write. Because f**k that guy.