I am a man with poor self esteem. Mind you I have a lot to be poor in self esteem about— a lumpy mostly-failed body (1), patchy hair, I'm irritating, I moan (slash) whine a lot and so forth—but even with justification, feeling like you suck can be somewhat of a burden. Not just for you but people around you. I can't, for example, readily accept praise because when someone says a nice thing about me I can't but help think 'but you don't know about the rest of me and how much that bites the wang'. I can see how that would give a praise-giver the irrits.
Unfortunately this self esteem crap bleeds over into when I am trying to be creative. I have a conceit that I can write except when I write I have a thought niggling away telling me that what I am producing is illegible piffle. Naturally this makes me less likely to write; why bother to write when I suck at writing? (2)
I was thinking about this on a drive home and wondering what I could do to get over that hurdle of feeling like I suck at writing. The thing is of course unless you write and write lots then chances are you will suck at writing. Sure it helps to have a modicum of talent but if anything merits the description of 1 per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration then it's writing; since unless it's on the fucking page then it's not actually written. So I basically have to convince myself that even if I do feel like what I am writing is horrid yuckyuck that would make a slush pile reader void themselves across the pile when they read the first page that the mere fact I am writing improves my ability to write. It is, therefore, still a win even if I feel like a massive loser.
As I thought this encouraging thought of accepting that what I write may suck but the mere fact I am writing may lead to future non-sucking I murmured to myself the alliterative advice of 'fake it until you make it'.
At the time I was driving I was listening to a Marc Maron podcast. He was talking with Sara Benincasa, a real ear-opener of a podcast given her frank discussions of mental health issues when at college.
It was at the exact moment that I murmured 'fake it until you make it' to myself that Maron said those same words to Sara in the podcast.
I stared boggle-eyed at the combo of Mp3 and spherical speaker jacked cumbersomely into a cigarette lighter adapter and wondered what other similar eeriness was going to gush forth from the Maron podcast.
Well ... nothing did. But still it was a total mind-fuck to hear my own spoken advice instantly echoed and, not only that, echoed by Marc Maron. A man who in the grip of his own esteem issues about his perceived career being in the doldrums decided to start a podcast interviewing other comedians and, through that simple act and a surprising discovery that he was a naturally gifted interviewer, re-booted said comedy career in addition to achieving commercial success in a new medium (3).
So there you go, a combo of me and Maron gave me some useful advice; fake it until you make it.
Now I just have to get busy faking it.
(2) Case example. I just realised after three years that the blog label tag I have for exercise is misspelled as 'excercise'. How did I not see that?! Only it's embedded in about a thousand posts. So I have to keep it as a label tag even though it's incorrect. Well fuck you, typo. I have created a new label tag called 'exercise' and I'm going to use that! ... Alongside the incorrectly spelled one since due to legacy issues I need to keep using it. Mendoza-a-a-a!
(3) Maron does live ad reads in his intro—Stamps.com!—and has a number of product deal link ins for websites where you can drop the WTF code for a discount and he 'gets some shekels on the back-end'. He also makes money from sales of the first 100 eps on DVD, merchandise (or "merch"), as well as from a tip jar. Maron also sells streaming access to older episodes behind a paywall with the latest 50 eps of the podcast being free to listen to. Indeed Maron's paywall is in fact the first paywall I've ever paid to access; and it was totally fucking worth it!