Firstly, let me be clear – not asking for commiseration or fixes or anything. Just more of a general topic post for a way my brain works. I’m not even sure this is a business post… even if it’s coming out on Wednesday. Which is why I titled it a writing post…
Okay, caveats or whatever you want to term it out of the way.
Those who follow me in other forums might hear me joke that I don’t have issues with impostor syndrome in thinking what I write is not good enough. See – I KNOW it’s not that good, but that’s okay. I can live with my crippling lack of self worth and move on.
It’s (mostly) a joke. It is true I don’t have this vaunted belief that what I do is ‘art’. They’re fun books, little stories I tell myself (and you all); but it’s not (obviously) award winning work.
So when crippling self doubt comes along, it doesn’t bother me. I know it’s not that great, so there’s not a lot of… worry? Concern? Issues?
Either way, that’s not how my own impostor syndrome plays out.
No… mine comes into play differently.
Now, this might be a very Chinese thing, but compliments – people telling me they love my work, that they enjoy it. Those are much, much more difficult to manage.
Here’s how my brain works when someone tells me when they tell me they love my work:
- oh cool! Thank you.
- wait, my work?
- my little stories? Are they sure?
- no, really. They’re not bad… but… really?
- are you really, really sure?
Now, objectively, I understand people like what I write. They give me money for it! Which, in this capitalistic society we live in, is like the biggest compliment (well, outside of fanart. *hint hint*).
But emotionally, mentally, that’s my brain whenever someone tells me they like what I wrote. It just does not compute.
Which is why even minor (or major) successes like getting shortlisted for an award are more of a … huh. A rather muted surprise, that shifts into wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.
And yes, I know, it’s not healthy (see first paragraph please).
But mostly, I write this for two major reasons. Firstly, impostor syndrome comes in a variety of ways, some of them really weird like mine…
And secondly, that if you ever tell me you love my work and my response is more muted than you expect – it’s not that I don’t cherish or respect your feelings. I just ummm… understand it. Nothing to do with you – everything to do with me.
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