Have you experienced 'creator imposter syndrome' 🤔

Hey, it’s Erica again from Patreon’s content team. I’d love your input for a story I’m currently planning.

As a writer, one of the things I’ve experienced is ‘creator imposter syndrome’ and I’m wondering if any of you can relate? :flushed:

Have you ever felt timid about the value of your creator career? Or, like you need “permission” to make money from something that isn’t a typical 9 to 5?

We’d love to hear your stories on how you deal with those feelings when they arise, what advice you’d offer to other creators who experience similar feelings, and how you combat these feelings when they arise so you can get back to creating?

Full disclosure: we would like to use some of the answers we receive from this discussion for a blog post, so please let us know if you’d be willing to be mentioned in the post, or if you’d be willing to talk directly with one of our writers!

Thanks! :hugs:

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Happy Friday! Bumping this thread and would love to chat with you if you find this relatable.

Thank you :star_struck:

Erica

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I think imposter syndrome is really common - and it doesn’t really go away once you reach level “1” of success because that ladder is never-ending.

The most helpful thing I’ve found personally is to look at how I’m framing things. When my primary creative goal is to make art that sells or means something to someone else, that’s a perspective fraught with anxiety. I can’t control other people’s wallets or their opinions. When my primary creative goal is to create art that means something to me - that does a lot to help reduce feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. It pulls large and small decisions into a better space.

It’s something I have to consciously reach for - because the natural pull of much of my business efforts are to trend toward the “other people’s tastes and interests” priority (What will other people value? How can I better reach my target audience?) It’s important to consider those questions and perspectives, but if that goal supersedes my own creative interests, then I usually end up feeling fairly crummy and inadequate. So it’s a process - every so often I pull back and express gratitude for what I get to do (Fall down the research rabbit hole! Wahoo! Spend hours drawing cartoons! Yay!) and how they bring me joy, and then I take a moment to ask if I like what I’ve made, and if I do, then that’s good enough.

I’d be glad to talk with one of your writers and/or be mentioned.

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I have. Sometimes I wonder why anyone would want to support me because I feel like I’m pretty boring, both in how I look (relevant because I’m basically a model as part of my being a creator) and in my personality. I feel like I’m nothing like these talented artists, musicians, programmers and the like that I see really succeeding on Patreon. I’m just a women who takes artsy photos of herself nude and in pretty lingerie and who tries to amuse her Patrons with totally random vlogs and the like.

I also feel like there are a lot of “girls” who do what I do. And most of them aren’t getting paid to do it unless they’re otherwise famous or they have some other talent. I don’t. I don’t sing, I’m not a gamer, I’m not an actress, I don’t draw or paint or make awesome cosplays. I kind of tried to do ASMR, but that didn’t work out either.

Then somebody left a comment on one of my videos on YouTube, something to the effect of “Every video from you is like a little vacation.” I almost cried. That is exactly what I want my posts, videos, Patreon community, etc to be! I want it to be an escape from stress. I felt such a renewed sense of purpose just from knowing at least one person got what I was hoping from my creativity.

I still feel like I’m boring, but now I’m kind of owning it. And maybe boring is the wrong word, but hopefully the meaning is understood. Maybe having a place where people can just enjoy simple, consistent photos combined with conversational videos of me talking about random stuff is valuable. I mean, here I am pledging to a bunch of ASMR creators because it helps with my own stress. Maybe this is just another form if the same thing? That’s what I’m going with, anyway. :slightly_smiling_face:

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This is so relatable and thank you so much for your response! I’ll definitely be reaching out to chat more.

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Love this @dekilah I feel like we all have those little moments when it all feels worth it, I’ll definitely be reaching out to chat more.

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This made me so happy to read.

Have you heard Jim Carrey talk about finding his purpose? I’ll see if I can find a link, so worth a watch!

Regarding imposter syndrome, omg yes basically every day of my life. Every song I write feels like the last one I ever will. Every patron leaving (a normal thing) make me feel like it’s the beginning of the end, everyone is catching onto me and soon they’ll all leave too. Every day that I don’t manage to get my shit together enough to move forward in my life (yay depression) is another bit of ‘proof’ that I’m not a real creator and I don’t deserve to be loved/supported/paid/inseetc mean thoughts here

So yeah, I know what it feels like to feel like an imposter

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Oh man- I know this feeling all too well.

I started creating mostly as a hobby. It started with writing, moved to art- and eventually mashed together into comics. I enjoy making comics. It’s fun and I’ve learned a lot over the years. That said: I’m not an expert artist. My art, while I don’t consider it bad, is not amazing. I have anatomy issues, my writing is okay at best, perspective gives me nightmares, and half the time I stress over the fact that I don’t think my work is worth getting paid for. People tell me it is. I do get paid for it through my amazing patrons. Yet… there are still days where I wonder “Do people not realize how sloppy this is? Don’t they see all the flaws in the story and its pacing?”

And yet- these people- not just the patrons- tell me how good I am. They say how much they love my work and the characters that are telling the story. And I realize: It doesn’t matter if I think my work isn’t worth paying for. It matters that I do it because I enjoy it. Because at the end of the day, the average audience member doesn’t know the do’s and dont’s of the creative process. As a creator, you will always challenge your own work. We are always focused on the flaws and mistakes we make- even the little ones. It’s a habit we form because we must in order to improve our work. Most people won’t notice that slightly off anatomy. Most won’t even look for the flaws: They will see the effort and work put into your work and enjoy it for what it is.

And those people who are paying you to do what you enjoy? They’re supporting you because they genuinely enjoy what you do and want to see you succeed. Even the people who cannot afford to pledge continually contribute in their own way by boosting morale and giving you that little feeling of “Yes, my work is worth it!” Every comment I read on each page reminds me that despite everything I think of my work, there are people who truly enjoy what I put out, and while I’m not making the next great series, my work is just as valid as any other.

Being a creator of any form is a long journey. There are ups and downs, twists and turns. There are days where you will collapse exhausted both physically and mentally. There are days where the wind is at your back pushing you forward with great motivation and inspiration. Sure, it’s not a journey to change the world for many of us- but we can change ourselves and those we touch. It’s easy to feel like imposter when people are paying you for your silly little -enter creation here- but it’s their way of saying that they appreciate you and what you do- flaws and all- because they see potential and greatness in you that you yourself cannot see.

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Hey Nate! Love that you mentioned that even people who we’d all likely agree are successful still deal with imposter syndrome. Would love to chat with you about this more if you’re available! I’ll reach out.

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Thank you for sharing this, I genuinely needed to hear this today. I rarely think about how imposter syndrome can be beneficial part of the creative process but you explained it perfectly. Would definitely love to chat more! I’ll be reaching out.

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I would enjoy speaking with one of your writers or being mentioned on the blog.

I have not yet felt an imposter syndrome sentiment, but I feel there may be some reasons for that.

I write content for Mouse Guard role-play game; it is content intended for game masters to easily print and bring to a game session. Although I only embarked on Patreon within the past year, I had already gained a reputation in social platforms of the Mouse Guard gaming community for providing advise, custom content (such as custom missions), and direct consults (such as revisions for someone else’s custom mission). Having gained the sense of reputation from the social platforms, I felt a natural bridge toward making content and expecting compensation.

My audience is somewhat small and niche. Also, I’ve been cautious not to overload my Patreon page with too much content at once. I feel these two factors help me feel less of an imposter. I’m not writing for everyone, though I do wish the audience were more engaged and larger. Yet, I feel it’s going to grow this year. Also, I take time for careful editing and self-revision to ensure the content is good. I feel I’ve got killer taste for Mouse Guard game content and ficiton, but it will take time to really translate that into the best possible content. I’m confident in the content I currently write, and I’m certain it will get better over time.

Having a reputation, doing self-revision, and having a niche audience I feel contribute to the confidence I have that Prevail will continue to grow and will fit my available schedule for writing. I get a sense of accomplishment each time I schedule a new post with game content. That’s a rewarding moment.

In contrast, I’d like to grow my audience, and I know I ought to have started years ago when the Mouse Guard community had a stronger following. I could have leveraged the reputation better, and gained more collaborative credentials working with others who were active in the community years ago, who have been less active or inactive in recent months/years.

K

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I love that your confidence comes from the quality and focus you put into your work. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Totally available to chat

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Thank you to everyone for your feedback and impact! Wanted to share the story with you :smile:

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Thanks everyone - these are some amazing stories that you shared. Super inspiring for all creators <3

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OMG! I’m in there!!! Thank you so much for including my thoughts on this. :purple_heart: I think this is a powerful article and I’ll be sharing it with my creator friends.

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I’m just now reading this but this was really humbling to read and see how rampant this is throughout the creative community. I’ve been dealing with this HARD all year.

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welcome to the forum, @Christa_P, and thank you for bringing this thread back up! there’s never a bad time to know you’re not alone in feeling like an imposter <3

I feel you :heart::sparkling_heart::sob:

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