We’ve all faced it, feeling like a fraud or an impostor with our creative work. But how do we know if it’s a case of Imposter Syndrome or if maybe we ARE just an Impostor?
I’ve been really wrestling with this personally recently. Here’s the thing. Yes, I am a photographer, but I’m not making photography a career. Yes, I write. But I’m not writing novels, or short stories or fiction in general. I write for this website primarily, along with some occasional prose and my attempted daily journaling. Yes I’m a musician. Have been playing drums since I was 7 years old. But I don’t play frequently anymore due to life and scheduling. Yes I do multiple podcasts every week, I am trying to teach myself to sketch/draw a bit.
None of that is something I can point to as something that’s moving towards a career.
More startling for me lately is that I’ve been feeling drawn to the writing for this site and creating the podcast each week way more than any of my other creative pursuits. It’s a mission to want to help people, to connect with you, to also share MY OWN journey along the way. Where all of this is leading, I have no clue, but it just FEELS right.
I’m not giving up on photography or any of the rest of it. But I’m just feeling a pull in this direction, so I’m following my gut.
Here’s the problem
This worm of an idea crawled in my head, making me question if, even though I’m writing and making a podcast regularly, does it count? Does it count as “practicing what I preach” if what I’m creating is writing ABOUT creativity, or the creative process? Am I a hypocrite because I create a podcast weekly that talks all about being inspired, being motivated, harnessing your creativity so you can fully enjoy it, yet all I’m primarily creating is articles/blog posts and podcast episodes ABOUT that?
In short, does writing/thinking/talking about creativity, the creative process, MY creative process and sharing lessons learned or ideas I’m working through, actually COUNT as being a “Practicing Creative”?
Impostor Syndrome vs Impostor
For the sake of discussion, let’s head out to the great Wikipedia and see what they have to say about the definition of “Impostor Syndrome”.
I don’t know. The answer isn’t super clear based on that.
Let’s have a look at what MERRIAM-WEBSTER has to say regarding a definition of an “Impostor”.
Now this just doesn’t feel right to me in this situation. I don’t feel like I’m assuming a false identity. I certainly am not attempting to deceive anyone. In fact I pride myself on being an open book, hence a post like this in which I’m wrestling with a personal thought.
The truth of the matter is this. I don’t feel like an impostor because I’m not out here trying to deceive anyone. I write and share freely of whatever knowledge I’ve been able to learn with the hope that maybe that information is useful, is valuable, to you. I’ve wrestled with the idea that maybe my real calling isn’t as a photographer, or writer, or musician. Maybe my calling is simply helping others find their’s.
At the heart of it all is likely just too much concern being placed on what “THEY” might be thinking of me. You know, “THEY” might be out there laughing at me, scoffing that I’m talking the talk but not walking the walk.
“THEY”…. the ever present, always annoying, fictional voices that we make up in our own heads. As Steven Pressfield calls it in his classic book “The War of Art”, it’s the voice of resistance.
I’m sure I’m battling a little of the impostor syndrome, though it’s not out of a feeling of not deserving accolades because let’s face it, I haven’t really earned any accolades.
But after sitting down to write this and share it with you, I feel confident I’m no impostor.
David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity. If you want even more terrific creativity based content, feel free to join the fun with the Newsletter!