Being a Beginner

I read Chapter 4 of Pep Talks for Writers yesterday and. Wow.

The advice that Faulkner gives us is. . . kind of unnecessary for me? He advises the reader to let go of what we know and embrace what we don’t know. And I don’t know if the flip side of the Dunning-Kruger effect (a/k/a “Imposter Syndrome”) is at work here. I mean, isn’t the whole point of the Dunning-Kruger effect that you can’t observe yourself accurately?

I’ve gone through my whole life feeling like I don’t understand what’s going on. My brain is a treasure trove of useless trivia (often, at work someone will say, “Olivia, what do you call ____?” and I’ll have the answer right on the tip of my tongue), but as for job skills, erm. No.

I think that’s a big part of why I’ve ended up underemployed for my whole life. I have a hard time sounding like an expert because I don’t believe that I am in job interviews and so interviewers are, “Maybe you know something, but you don’t know enough to actually be useful.”

Every time I sit down to write, I’m terrified. I keep telling Alex just to write like he talks because he’s not a fantastic writer, but he’s really well spoken. I mean, writing seems like the easiest thing in the world and not a skill at all. Certainly not one I’m good at.

So. I guess that feeling like a beginner comes naturally to me. Maybe the concern is that I may some day decide that writing is not the easiest thing ever and that I have an actual skill. Will I begin to fail as a writer then, or will it be just the beginning?

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