Sometimes a story hits you straight in the gut and leaves you reeling afterwards. I don’t remember what I was doing exactly when this story came on but — well, actually, I think I was taking a shower.

*Thinks for a moment*

Yeah, I definitely was. I remember Pseudopod clicking on in the playlist I was listening to and just losing myself in the story as the hot water streamed over my face. Sorry, that may be too much information, but I almost always listen to a podcast while I’m showering. I find I always leave with some new ideas I need to immediately jot down. *shrugs*TheTortured Artist

This story, Self Portrait with Embellishments by Ryan Dull, really struck home with me.

I want to get into why, so if you’d like to skip spoilers, here is the Pseudopod episode.

In the story the main character is struggling to be a “real” writer. And puts himself through physical and mental hell to try and achieve it, only to discover that everything he’s created is absolute nonsensical garbage.

I’m always afraid of that- particularly with my fiction writing. I have been pouring my heart and soul and all of the most intimate pain I have experienced into my stories. And I’m absolutely afraid that the day I finally decide to share it all I’ll find out all of my work is useless. That it’s the equivalent of crayon scribbles on a bar’s bathroom stall. Awkward, out of place, and a little upsetting.

Logical-me knows I can’t be that bad… I mean I do understand how a good story is put together. That’s part of why I review books; to better understand what makes a book sink or sing so I can use some of the same tools in my writing. And you guys seem to be enjoying my writing here so… I can’t be all that bad.

But the fear remains. And this podcast episode captured this embodiment of my own impostor syndrome so perfectly that it did make me stop what I was doing, and let that darkness wash over me for a moment.

It really does help to know that I’m not the only artist who fears being marked as useless and insane. Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever find that the fear of rejection stops you in your tracks?


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