In my quest to improve myself by reading more than one book this year, I made a point to try and finish one that was given to me last Christmas, (I think anyway). Namely, Amanda Palmer’s, The Art of Asking. There was a passage in there that really jumped out at me whilst I was reading it, and it went like this:
I’ve had a problem feeling real all my life.
I didn’t know until recently how absolutely universal that feeling is. For a long time, I thought I was alone. Psychologists have a term for it: imposter syndrome. But before I knew that phrase existed, I coined my own: The Fraud Police.
The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of “real” grown ups who you believe - at some subconscious level - are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night saying,
We’ve been watching you and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.
I love this quote. It encapsulates the ongoing anxiety that maybe you are on the wrong path and that every little victory is undeserved.
At the time, (and keep in mind this is ongoing) I was wondering if I was really putting my energy to good use. Should I have directed my attention to a more worthy cause? Was concentrating on art an entirely selfish pursuit and if it was, should I feel bad? Despite the countless hours drawing, writing, posting and commenting, was I really qualified to do this?
When were the Fraud Police going to notice I was a creative criminal?
You think that when you sign a contract or get enough money, that that will make you legit. That when the FP come a-knocking, you’ll be able to provide the evidence, the alibi and have enough money to pay for the lawyer. That’s when you’ll be #adulting.
It is hard for me to come to terms with the idea that I don’t think I will ever feel 100% legitimate, no matter where my career takes me. But knowing this helps. As when I look at other creators, particularly ones that are considered bonafide professionals, I know that at some point, even if it is no longer the case, they too, felt the presence of the Fraud Police.
As Amanda Palmer said,
In both the art and the business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple:
The professionals know they’re winging it.
The amateurs pretend they’re not.
Do you feel the presence of the Fraud Police? How do you handle it? Tell us in the comment section below or join us in the forums.
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Nov. 23, 2018
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