BWW Blog: Fake It Until You Make It
On my first day of grad school at Goddard College, the program director sat us all down for a new student orientation, and told us her story of her first day on the job. She told us how she felt like a fake and doubted her talent around her accomplished faculty members. Then one of the faculty came up to her and asked her "do you feel like a fake yet"?
She said it startled her because it was like this person saw into her soul and could see her panic. She learned in that moment that nearly every writer has felt just like her at some point in time. At first I didn't believe her because there was no way this woman before me, this talented writer, felt like a fake. Then I started thinking about my own experience, and the day I opened my acceptance letter in shock that I was accepted.
I thought that they accepted me as a joke because it was impossible to think they would pick me the aspiring playwright with no real experience. The truth is we all feel like a fake, and it's ok to admit that. Whether you're the playwright on the west coast writing scene after scene wondering if you will ever measure up, or you're an actor in New York going to audition after audition hoping one day you get it, or you're the highschool stage manager of a small town in the midwest trying to figure out how you are going to pull your show all together.
This passion for theatre and choosing it as a career, at any level, brings with it the doubt and fear that you will never be good enough. It's scary, but so helpful to know that everyone else is pretty much feeling it too.
Self doubt is such a powerful tool that you can use to push yourself forward even though everything inside of you is screaming to run the other way. Even though you might be feeling like a fake you're still going to that audition, writing that play, and masterminding your highschool production. Fear doesn't stop you, and to me that is the best part of having a passion. The best part is knowing that you could absolutely fail and fall flat, but still wanting to do it because it means everything to you.
Writing means everything to me, but most days when I sit at my computer isolated all day or ride the bus lost in thoughts of lyrics I could turn into a full fledged musical or blow off my friends because I got an idea for a new play that I have to write down I think what am I really doing? I'm pretending to be someone I'm not, but if I have to pretend to be someone why not at least pretend to be me.
Truthfully though this is who I am, and I'm only being fake when I deny that version of myself. My first day of grad school taught me to be confident in myself and my writing so that I can walk into a room full of writers and know that I belong there. Or maybe it just taught me to learn to fake it until I make it.