Having spoken to a lot of new writers and observed the online communities, one thing painfully stands out like the proverbial sore thumb; The Imposter.
He or she stands in the shadows, face perpetually fixed in an expression of somewhat amused disdain. Always watching, always judging, and never satisfied.
The saying "you are your own worst enemy" is never more accurate because if you cause The Imposter to let slip that immobile mask you will see, like Luke in that caveon Dagobah, the face behind is your own.
Why is it that you are sabotaging your own success, criticising your work more harshly than even the worst of the online trolls?
Why do you think the character of The Stranger in The Chronicles of Enoch is so popular? For that matter, why is Asmodeus so popular?
Let us examine what The Imposter regards as the main weapons in its arsenal, the we will attack them one by one.
I don't deserve success, who am I?
Other people have real talent, I don't.
I've been rejected, it's a sign.
I read books that are better than mine all the time.
They're famous people, how can I ever be like them?
They're special and I'm just a failure who just won't admit it.
All good and valid points, right? I mean look at them, they make it look so effortless! How can you possibly manage that? It's only a hobby, right? Nothing serious there, you write for yourself, that's all.
See what you've started doing? You've started justifying and expecting failure like that's all there is.
I can bet you every artist on Earth has done that.
Who are you? You're you and, unless there is some Being who decides arbitrarily who has success and who doesn't, there is nothing stopping you. Apart from you, of course. The only Gatekeeper is you. You see 'them on the communities; on Twitter, Facebook, everywhere making it look so easy. It isn't. Trust me, it takes effort and determination. I struggle to find the time and the motivation often.
You know I'm a believer in natural talent fair enough but ask yourself this; why're you still Here? Because you have a passion, right? Because for as long as you can remember, you've written silly stories, bits of verse, and doodled characters, right? Because you people watch and invent their stories, don't you? I've got you dead cold and you know it!
I've taken the risk of reaching out to famous authors and film makers and two or three of them responded. Guess what? They're not at all different from the rest of us. They've failed too. You know what my favourite advice is? "Ask yourself why you want to be in this game because it never gets easier" that's from a very famous screenwriter!
You know the famous writersread too don't you? My most treasured compliment was "I wish I'd thought of that..." closely followed by "I have to promise in writing not to steal your ideas before you send me anything...". Take a few minutes to absorb what that means.
Return to the previous points. I've chatted with a few and, yes they're wealthier than me, are recognised by more people, and have be more careful what they say in social media than I do but they don't bite and do almost all the same stuff we do. Some of them have a god-awful sense of humour and know exactly who they are.
Who got up this morning and made you King or Queen of the Land of Pityme? What makes your failure more soul-destroying or heart-breaking than anyone else's? We're all "failures" aren't we? Take a look out there and ask yourself this; you see their success but have you any idea about their failures, their long dark teatimes of the soul? No more than I know about yours and you about mine.
There you go! That showed The Imposter didn't it? Gave him a good kick up the arse didn't I? She won't be back in a hurry, right?
If I were to sit down and tell you that it's taken me five years of bloody hard work to even get this far; with my small group of fans and followers, my little group of folks that enjoy my writing and blog posts. I'm still not famous.
Copies of The Chronicles of Enoch : Preludes are not flying off the shelves; they're not even on a lot of shelves! No-one has approached me with a case full of cash and a contract to sign with a gold pen. Nobody has asked for my autograph yet.
As a laugh, I have been asked once if I am that Alan Fisher, just once, though and I only signed their bit of paper because it was an invoice I was paying.
My point is simple (aren't they always?) ; there's a lot of hard work and serious slogging left. Do you think, even for those we aspire to emulate, that the hard work ever stops?
I'm not there yet, you're not there yet; I don't even know where there is or how to get tickets....