The Syndrome Is REAL
It's almost a cliché at this point -- oh look, a writer says that he has Imposter Syndrome! I mean, if such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, whom I quote on this very website, claims to suffer from it, how's a schlub like me supposed to avoid it? Once you relegate something to the cliché, it becomes harder to take it seriously, I know.
It's real, though.
Of late, I've taken to listening to The Act Two Podcast, which bills itself as "the podcast for the working screenwriter," and the hosts of that show are really working. Tasha Huo, with whom I've been on a different podcast in the past, is working like crazy in the TV and animation spaces, basically doing what I want to be doing. I mean, she's the showrunner for Netflix's upcoming Tomb Raider cartoon. Who doesn't want to do that?
The thing is, when we were on the podcast together, I didn't come away feeling like, "Oh, Tasha knows so much more about story than I do." I felt like I'd just recorded with a peer. Of course, at that point, I didn't know anything about her. I also had the distinct impression that I'd fairly impressed her with my insights into the movie we were discussing (which probably why I liked her). I can't help but think now that if I'd known more about her, if I'd thought this was something more than a couple of geeks talking a Marvel movie, I wouldn't have spoken as confidently or as well.
I'm so busy right now. I'm currently working on two different graphic novels, a comic limited series, my own webcomic...oh, and an animated series created by my partners and me. One of my editors recently referred to some of my work as "genius" and an IP holder (who hired me to replace another writer) called me "a total game changer." I'm an accomplished, professional, working writer.
So why don't I feel like one? Why do I always feel like I have to fake it until I make it? WHY HAVEN'T I JUST MADE IT ALREADY?
Part of it is just the freelance life, I know. I'm working right now, but I also just deposited my first payment in several months. Having no income for a while isn't good for the old self-esteem, especially when you're used to being paid (well, might I add) based on the quality of your work on a nightly basis.
Another part is the constant rejection. For every gig that I get hired for, there are probably twenty that I chased and failed to get. That's true for 99% of the writers out there...but knowing that doesn't help.
(Can you tell that I just got asked for my rates...and that I had to completely reevaluate them?)