I mean, come on. We literally gave a TEDx talk on why you are qualified to pursue your creative passion. I'm not trying to claim that we wrote the book on overcoming imposter syndrome, but in the grand scheme, I'd say we're pretty well qualified.
I'm also proof that the big, old, ugly imposter monster can rear its ugly head to anyone. Before we get into that, let me take you back to the pseudo-beginning of this story. While this blog prides itself on being the advice-giver, maybe it's time to turn the tables.
About a decade ago, you wouldn't catch me without my camera. Rarely did I leave home without it. A photography obsession destined to (likely) last a lifetime seeded itself in my early childhood when I was handed my first 800mm disposable camera. My teenage years saw multiple versions of Polaroids, then I got my first digital camera when I was 21 years old. By the time I was 30, I'd moved up to my first DSL. When I exhausted every feature on it, I promised myself I would buy a full-frame camera; that happened at 33.
I took photography courses, and read every book I could get my hands on. No stranger to the blogs and forums, I also owned lights, gels, umbrellas... the works. I knew the rule of thirds, what not to do, how to triple-back up my work, and that apprenticeship was the next step to professional work.
Then, one day, I saw an acronym floating around on the internet: "MWC."
"Moms with cameras."
This nonsense insult poked me in the imposter monster and I lost almost all faith in my ability to photograph anything. Photography landed on the side and I started to focus on my writing.
Writing always went the same way for me. It began with awards in high school, advanced college classes before I even entered college, the honors courses in college... I've published dozens and dozens of papers, peer-reviewed, edited, written professionally and not. Every time I had the opportunity to take a course through the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, I took it, and I finished it. I have a paper due for a high-profile journal at the end of this week.
I'm not a believer in putting your very first practice run out into the universe. Art is a growth process in many ways, but the biggest, I feel, is learning how you want to be represented in perpetuity. It takes time to see that and to feel that. My photography has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. When I look back at those first edits... oh my. Yuck city. But the recent ones? They're elegant. Timeless.
I've written several novels in my life. You've never read them, and there's a good chance you never will. Like anything else, I had to learn the process of writing a novel before I found the one that felt like what I thought it was supposed to feel like. That novel is this one... that one that prompted this blog. It's almost done; my third (maybe 4th?) long-form written work. I love it to pieces. Compared to everything else I've ever created, it's 100% how I wish to be represented as an author.
Perhaps, this is why I feel so imposter-ish: because this is the one that means the most.
I've often done this with my poetry, too.
When submitting to poetry journals, I tend to hold back what I consider my best pieces, and I submit the mediocre stuff. That way, if it gets rejected, it won't hurt too hard.
That's exactly where I'm at with this forthcoming novel.
It's about a month away from first-draft completion, and I will publish it. Forum/outlet undecided (traditional? Self-publishing?) I don't really care at this point. It will have its day in the sun.
But, what of everyone else? What will they think of this "pinnacle project?"
I hesitate. I wait. Will there be a "Mom with words" moment?
To be determined.
I'm only human.
There's a heart on this blog... and in it.