Friday, November 15, 2013

Impostor?

Almost every time I sit down to write, I feel like I'm an impostor.  "Who am I kidding?" I'll think.

It's strange.  I can speak to large crowds.  Or sing.  Or act.  I do all those things with varying regularity and not once in the past several years has it made me the least bit nervous.

"If you're not afraid when you get in front of people and do this, you're not human," I'll hear from time to time.  Uh-oh.  What does that say?  Hopefully it says the people making that claim are mistaken.

The validity of the statement aside, I'm not usually given to self-doubt.  What I lack in humility I make up for in confidence.

Until it's time to write.  Why is that?  It may be that, as I explained to a friend recently, "I may not be a good writer yet, but I'm a great reader."  And my works, particularly the rough drafts, don't feel like great reading.

Then I think of another quote from Neil Gaiman.  Sorry, but I've been devouring his interviews and speeches on youtube recently.  I'm 95% sure this came from his commencement speech, but I can't be bothered at the moment to look it up or link to it.  This time all you're getting is a paraphrase.

Someone wanted to record an audio book but wasn't sure she could do it.  He advised her to pretend she was someone who could do it, and then act like that person would act.

Brilliant.

So when I feel inadequate, I pretend I'm a writer, and then act like one.  It works because I have quite a bit of acting experience.  And at the end of it I have something written.  Usually it's something that needs to be rewritten, but without the first step there's no second step.  Eventually it turns into something that is worthwhile.  That's a good feeling.

So am I an impostor?  If I act like someone who writes, then aren't I writing?  And what is it that defines a writer?

That's right.