The better you get at something (and/or the more time you spend on it) there are only two possible scenarios:
Scenario no. 1: That something becomes really good in direct proportion with the time you spent on it and receives the external validation it craves and deserves (in my case, publication) while you, the author, feel deeply satisfied and proud of your work and endearment towards your craft.
Scenario no. 2: You change and that something doesn’t change at the same pace as you. Give it 3 or 4 years and you and your work are complete strangers. So much so that trying to get that external validation it craves and (not so much anymore) deserves (in my case, publication), while you the author feel deeply dissatisfied and not so proud of your work anymore (as you were, say, 2 years before) and the only way to keep endearment towards your craft is to leave it all behind and start something new.
Easy to imagine Scenario no. 2 is more likely the consequence of becoming very good at something or spending a lot of time on it. The same scenario happens when, for example, you want to break up with your old lover, the lover who knows you inside out (the good, the bad, and the ugly – especially the ugly) and crave for a new lover, someone who can imagine you to be better than you are, before he too becomes an old lover.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I am stuck in Scenario no. 2 and literally don’t know how to get out. I thought I wrote a good book. Another year went by and nothing happened with this ‘good’ book. People used to ask me about it all the time and they don’t ask me about it anymore. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It’s so much easier and exciting to talk about a new lover than an old one. So I talk about stories I want to write, or will one day write, or have started writing sheepishly, like a fraud, with what feels like an arthritic mind, a mind that hurts because of all the clichés it spits out on paper. I’m reading other authors only to write pastiches of what I’ve read. I don’t believe in myself anymore.
Wait a minute, don’t jump to conclusions. I believe in my potential. I’ve always believed in my potential. I can see myself through an Instagram filter picking up an award, launching a novel at Waterstones in Piccadilly, supervising the development of a movie script based on my books.
These books exist in my head, they are potential. I literally hear voices. There’s a character who wants to be Irish and I know nothing about Ireland but she’s telling me what I need to know. Another character who is 67 years-old and beautiful and had lived through the seventies and a marriage and (again!) I know nothing about that but she’s telling me what I need to know. There is Stella (the Irish – is Stella even an Irish name?) who is also a scientist in another story (again, what the hell do I know about science?) and M. (maybe Meredith or Myrtle or Megan (or who knows, I’m researching popular baby names in the fifties – apparently the most popular name was ‘Susan’ but somehow I’m stuck at letter M)? And because I haven’t written morning pages in like a century (to be fair, haven’t written anything, not even a reminder or a shopping list in the last two months) the voices won’t stop talking.
The thing is believing in my potential is easy. I don’t have to do anything. I just have to dream. My potential doesn’t feel like a fraud because it’s not real, it only exists in my imagination. But actually doing it. That’s another story.
Will this feeling like a fraud ever go away?