I won’t lie, I’ve had plenty of time to write a blog post over the past few months. I simply haven’t felt like it especially in the year that saw zero book signing events and abysmal sales in general. I prefer to write happy, positive, up-beat posts. Nobody, self included, wants to hear a disgruntled writer blathering about how pointless it all is and questioning why I even bother trying to make a name for myself in the endless sea of other Horror writers. The pool is deep and wide. There are far better writers out there than I.
And there’s a name for it, Imposter Syndrome.
I think it’s an affliction most creative people experience from time to time. I’ve seen writer after writer, even super famous ones you’ve probably heard of, remarking how unworthy they feel about their work and questioning if anyone will even like what they’ve spent so much time working on. For those famous folks, at least they have a hefty bank account created by royalty checks that speaks up and tells them they are good enough.
The vast majority of writers out there don’t have that affirmation. We get excited about a single sale! We latch on to any new review that crops up and read every single one. When someone shares or retweets something we’ve posted, it’s a tiny zap of hope. If Stephen King is Amazon, I’m a weekend yard sale and I’m an imposter.
Wikipedia defines Imposter Syndrome as, “…a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
In the past, I’ve compared Imposter Syndrome to the feeling one might get after spending all week preparing for a big party. You go out and do all the work. You gather the decorations. You select what you feel is the finest dinnerware. The menu is perfected, each recipe and ingredient scrutinized and analyzed. It just has to be perfect. This party is important! It could make or break you. That night, after you’ve spent the day cooking and cleaning, grooming yourself and your home impeccably, the guests arrive. They appear to enjoy the food, the company, the atmosphere. You’ve pulled it off. But, when the party is over and the guests leave, not a single one says, “Thank you.” Nobody shakes your hand. There are no compliments on the food, the table settings, the hours you spent toiling over a filthy toilet so it would be spotless for your guests. Nobody says, “Goodbye” let alone, “Good job.”
You haven’t succeeded at all. You’re an imposter. You’re fake. You have nothing to show for this event you’ve poured so much fervor and dedication into other than a big mess to clean up.
Imposter Syndrome asks why did you even bother? What was the point? Might as well give up. All the hard work isn’t worth the reward. What a fricken loser you are! Stop wasting your time. Stop creating. Stop being a fraud. Imposter Syndrome is serious. Its claws are sharp and painful and for some so debilitating that they never pick up the creative pen again. But, I’m stubborn (or completely delusional – or both). Yeah, sales suck and new reviews barely exist but I have stories to tell, damn it! Something needed to change – even if just a little bit.
After the release of my last most recent novel, “The Inheritance”, back in September, I decided to take a step away from the Horror for a while. There are more Horror books to come, don’t worry. But with 2020 being what is has been and what Covid-19 will continue to be in the unforeseeable future, the need to work on something more light-hearted and fun rose to the surface. A very old project, one near and dear to my heart and soul, needed to be done. Its creation has brought with it a breath of much needed fresh air. 2021 will bring something drastically different than what you’ve come to expect from me, even as I continue to work on murders and mysteries, ghosts and witches, maybe even an alien or two in the background.
In my next post, before the end of this month – promise, I’ll reveal the new genre I’ve been tackling the past six months and will continue to work with for as long as it continues to bring me joy. And, maybe by this time next year, I won’t feel like such an imposter do much of the time.