Welcome, one and all, to a guest post! Today, J. Scott Coatsworth is stopping by to chat about inner critics. If you want to know more, check out my previous interview with him. Until then, enjoy the post!
I Am An Imposter
By J. Scott Coatsworth
I am an imposter.
I live in a writer’s skin, but I am a hack, a thief, a stealer of words. I write derivative crap that no one will ever want to read. I should just lie down and die.
Any writer worth his/her/their salt has heard those words. It’s called Imposter Syndrome, and it’s the almost unshakable feeling that each of us is merely masquerading as writer. That we don’t know what we’re doing, and that eventually we’ll be “found out” and everyone will stop loving us.
Writers are notoriously insecure creatures, ridden both by the Insatiable Muse on the left, who lashes our backs and screams “Write! Write!” and the Inner Critic on the right, who sits back, bored, and says “Is that the best you’ve got?”
I have learned to mostly ignore my inner critic. He drips sarcasm, and I let it run off my back. He screams, and I put in my ear plugs and write on. But he still gets me at one particular point.
At about two thirds of the way through each story, I suddenly begin to doubt my skill. Suddenly the plot seems about as solid as oatmeal, the characters vapid and ordinary, and the prose as faded as my grandmother’s old bedspread.
And yet, I have learned a few things over the years.
I’ve learned that this muddled middle time always comes. I’ve learned that I can write past it, and things are almost never as bad as they seem.
And I have learned that the Inner Critic is actually a writer’s best friend. He keeps us on our toes, always trying to be better, while our Muse just lets us wander around in pretty circles.
He makes us take steps to hone our craft, to make better characters, to put together cleaner plots. To build more entrancing worlds.
It’s true. I may be an imposter right now.
But I’m becoming a real writer a little more every day.