Strangely for me, I find that actual process of creative writing has made me feel more real, giving me an identity that I've shunned for years...for all sorts of negative reasons.
The whole area of self-confidence and bravery is one that intrigues me, for I've known several people who succeeded in doing something against formidable odds—even be awarded for it. There was a WW2 soldier, who drank in my local pub, who'd been decorated for bravery with a Military Medal. He'd stormed a German machine gun post, who'd pinned down his patrol, lobbing mortar rounds at them. His best friend had been killed, and after several hours of crawling around in the mud he'd had enough. He charged the enemy, killing four Nazis with a grenade and his machine gun. He admitted to me, that he didn't know what he was doing and felt terrified the whole time. He didn't consider himself brave, he was just pissed-off with the situation and didn't much care what happened to him anymore, so said "Fuck it!
" and steamed in heedless of the consequences.
I think that self-confidence comes from not being afraid of making a fool of yourself.
What really bothers me about the impostor part of being a writer, is contemplating how I'm going to sell myself as an author and my crime novels as thrilling reads. That's going to require me to create an all-singing, all-dancing media creature who's not really like me. I'll be faking
that bit. I know that it needs to be done, for after all, no one these days judges any creative work solely on its own worth—the Internet is a snooper's charter—everyone wants to know about your life history, influences, where you live and who is your partner.
It's made me appreciate the world-weary expressions on the faces of authors, actors and musicians, as they're interviewed for the umpteenth time about their latest release. How often can you say how wonderful your new book is, how delighted you are with it, and still look and sound sincere, when you'd rather be back at your keyboard creating a new story? The public face of being what is essentially a sales person is one that's bothered artists for centuries, so I'll be kicking my reclusive self up the arse this autumn, to enter the turmoil that is tweeting, blogging and posting on social media.