Lately on Magical Words David and Stuart and others have talked quite a bit about the measure of failure and success, about the nature of rejection, and how we might redefine it. Reading about it has made me pick at my own personal scab: I’m a fraud. I’ve always felt like a fraud, like I’ve been faking it my whole life. I have a PhD and am a Professor of English and I am pretty sure that I’m the worst one ever and I really don’t know what I’m talking about. I feel the same way about being a writer–that everything I write is crap and I could explain why that all is, but suffice it to say, I walk around with a secret belief in my own fraudulence. I could talk about other ways that I’m a fraud, but you get the picture.
There really is no cure for it. I’m not sure that if I hit a bestseller list or made it onto Oprah that I’d lose that constant worry. I’m not sure what it would take, which takes us back to what is the definition of failure or success. Part of the problem is that moving target, that sense that there is never enough money or enough books sold or anything else to make you feel successful. Or to make you feel like not a failure or not a fraud.
I’m trying to figure out what the point of this post is. I guess it comes down to the fact that for me, it isn’t just about defining success, but also the constant rear guard battle against a lack of self-confidence. I have spoken to other writers and I know that at least a few suffer from the malady. The only cure is to fake confidence and keep writing because it’s not like I can stop. I wouldn’t know how to stop. If I lose myself in the stories then I can forget the fear and the doubt.
What do the rest of you do? Providing that you suffer the same malady. If not, move along, nothing to see here.