“Creative work is very hard,” wrote Sidney Lumet in Making Movies. “Some sort of self-deception is necessary simply in order to start.”
In the beginning, you have to trick yourself into believing you have something worth saying.
So when you’re first starting out, you surround yourself with people who will provide you with helpful criticism, but who will also be cheerleaders — people who will root for you and tell you to keep going, even if you’re not any good yet.
BUT! If you achieve success, it’s CRUCIAL that you have people in your life who will be real editors, keep you grounded, and push you. People who will support you, sure, but will also be honest with you about the quality of the work you’re doing.
It’s also crucial to be honest with yourself. No matter how far along you are, maintaining a certain amount of impostor syndrome can be a healthy thing.
“I think most of us feel like fakes,” wrote Lumet. “At some point ‘they’ will get onto us and expose us for what we are: know-nothings, hustlers, and charlatans. It’s not a totally destructive feeling. It tends to keep us honest.”
You probably don’t deserve what you have. So keep moving and earn it.