This weekend, I'll be participating in a panel about blogging and - gulp - sex. Part of the Playground conference, which aims to bring an open and inclusive mind to sexuality, the panel is going to be comprised of four XOXO Amore bloggers and moderated by Jon Pressick. It should be great. I, of course, am nervous.
This morning, I was interviewed by a Ryerson journalism student about sex blogging - why I do it, what it means, what it meaaaaans, etc - to be included in a much longer piece about sexuality and journalism and all the various ways the topic is (and isn't) covered in mainstream media. I should be great. I - of course - am nervous.
Impostor syndrome seems to be the next logical step up (down?) from low self esteem. It's the belief that one's accomplishments have nothing to do with the actual work you put into them: any success comes from good timing or luck. It's not always pervasive in life: you can feel like a fraud in the kitchen but a rock star in the board room, for example. I'm feeling it now, as I seem to have been tapped as someone who writes...for real. The sex writing aspect feels like a transparency laid over the idea that I'm, like, actually doing this, but it's there, adding to my terror.
When I was taking a year off from school at 19 - burnout! - I was still writing my crappy little diaryland account. And one day, an editor from Index magazine emailed and said, hey, your writing is really good. Keep in touch with us, we might want to do something with you. And I freaked the fuck out, both in the good way - OMG, someone thinks I am good at this - and the bad way - I am a fake and they are going to find out. This has been my pattern since then: elation at being accepted, dread at having to prove, over and over, that I am, in fact, good at this.
This being writing.
I write a lot. In my head, I write drafts of conversations and short stories that, one day, might propel me through a month of NaNoWriMo. I write this blog. I've written off and on for others, for money and for credit, and some have been lasting relationships and some haven't. But they've all liked, more or less, what I have to offer. They've liked my ideas and my voice, my clean copy and my respect for the deadline. Sometimes I've gone to them; sometimes (actually, more than I really want to say, because in this context, it's embarrassing) they've approached me.
And so all this points to the idea, slowly emerging, that instead of terror at being someday found out as a fraud - or that my well will run dry and I won't even be able to write my own name, let alone a 1500-word article on buttplugs or Facebook etiquette - I should be getting comfortable with the idea that "writer" might be on my business card one day. Not tomorrow. Just...someday.
I know other writers struggle with this idea as well - I might have stolen that "writing your own name" line from Anne Lamott, and I have enough writer friends on Twitter to know that the ache of non-confidence is not my own invention. I guess what I'm doing here is shining a light on the monster in my closet, the one that whispers in my ear "Don't get used to this, sweetheart, it'll go away soon enough," and showing it to be nothing more than the rumpled old ideas of someone who, now, knows better.