I’m starting this morning bored but beaming. Yesterday evening I typed up a short story, just 1600 words, but I was pleased with the result.
I see a lot of writers express doubt over whether or not they’re any good, while I usually feel pretty confident on that score. I’m no Peter S. Beagle or J.R.R. Tolkien, but I don’t suck, either. The fact that I don’t doubt my raw talent and creativity sometimes makes me wonder if I’m being narcissistic rather than objective.
Maybe I’m not a real writer without experiencing imposter syndrome, I’ll sometimes wonder, which I have to laugh over because that feels like I’m trying to turn imposter syndrome into a meta version of itself. ‘They’ll know I’m a fraud because I don’t feel like a fraud!’
(At the end of the day, raw talent, creativity and even technical skill mean very little, though. Publishing and financial success as a writer rely on things like connections, luck, timing, and subjective rather than objective opinions.)
As a reader, I know a properly written short story can really pack a punch. I don’t do a lot of work with short stories as a writer, though, because my ideas usually expand into something too large to be contained in a short narrative. This means when I do write a short story, I have a little more doubt about the results.
This newest short story wasn’t my usual style – it’s explicit, aggressive and horror-themed. I’ve done work that fits each of those descriptors separately but haven’t joined them in one project before. I asked H to look it over, since he’d be the one most likely to be able to offer dispassionate, objective feedback.
I want to provoke a visceral reaction from the average reader, but I don’t want that kind of reaction getting in the way of more technical feedback.
H’s feedback was positive! He believed that if my goal was to leave the average reader feeling disturbed that I’d succeeded there, and that the narrative flowed well, and the sequencing and timing made sense. He didn’t spot any glaring flaws. I think this means I’m on the right track.
It’s nice to have a friend/friends you can generally trust not to worry about your feelings when providing asked-for feedback. That means when they have nice things to say, they mean it.
H also indicated willingness to provide feedback in the future, which was a relief, because while I don’t have doubts about my creativity, I am often flooded with doubts about my ability to human, and sometimes feel like asking for anything from friends may be asking for too much.
Is there such a thing as intruder syndrome? Feeling like an intruder in people’s lives? Because if there is, I might have that. Actually, I think that’s just called social anxiety. I think I’d rather have it called Intruder Syndrome, it sounds more interesting and less like someone that just worries too much.
But anyway, yes, I’m beaming because I completed a short story and got positive feedback from someone I don’t think would try to spare my feelings. It doesn’t mean I’m a successful human, but I know the value of a positive emotional boost these days.