Dear old Wikipedia defines it thus:
"The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be."
I was talking with a woman I know recently and she was telling me about reading a biography of a famous actor, star of stage and screen, who suffered from "impostor syndrome". Despite his many awards and successes, he believed that one day he would be unmasked as a fraud who perpetrated some great scam on the public and critics alike.
Well, this got me thinking about the tightrope many walk in the various fields of creative endeavour.
In my general day-to-day life, I feel relatively confident that I manage alright as a husband, father, employee and general all round human being. But when I venture into creative waters, such as writing and acting, I am often plagued with self doubt. Despite a modest amount of success in both creative pursuits, I am often convinced that just because I love writing and acting doesn't mean that I'm any good at either.
I read the work of other poets and writers and think how wonderful they are and how sub-standard I am by comparison. I see their successes and think how wonderful it must be to reach those lofty heights and how talented they are.
But is it, as most of us suspect, self-sabotage, a dirty trick played on us by our minds?
STRAW POLL: Feel free to share in the Comments your thoughts on Impostor Syndrome and, if you are feeling bold, do you also suffer from self-doubt in your creative career?