Community-Induced Self-Doubt

One of the biggest truths for my students to swallow is that I fake extroversion on a daily basis. The energetic instructor with a touch of geek-snark and a willingness to use a viral video to make a point would be just as comfortable sitting at a table in the campus cafe with her coffee, a notebook, and a favorite playlist to keep her company. Interacting with a lot of people over an extended period of time is exhausting, and I manage by compartmentalizing the interactions when possible.

So, when I find myself on the edges of different communities, professional or otherwise, I struggle to find the right way to slide into the conversations. Those who have met me in person can attest to my falling into a fit of giggles over the silliest things, and they also know that I’m perfectly happy to sit in a bar with my coffee and just listen to the stories that others tell. That takes a LOT of getting used to, and there is still a big fear of rejection or “sorry, you’re not cool enough to gravitate here” that I have even after so many years of favorite conventions.

With online communities, it’s even more difficult. Speaking up to chime in on a conversation with my own experiences can feel like bragging. Asking for help or guidance… well, in some communities, the actions and conversations of community members has made me worry about the reaction I’ll receive. Do I really belong? Am I legitimate? Will someone question my ability and membership? What if I’m not good enough to belong? Are they going to laugh at me? Will I become “that person” who becomes trollbait for the ‘experienced’ to demonstrate their own mastery of the craft?

When those questions start coming up, I lurk on the edges of the community. It’s a game of comparison, to see where I can fit and if the pending judgment will be that bad. Lately, I’ve felt this way with my narration, as if I’m not as good as I’ve thought I was, or that I just got lucky at the beginning and that’s all this was. Plenty of this comes from the anxiety surrounding this time of year and my own brilliant brand of self-doubt, but… hey, grain of truth. Narration and production, I can always get better. I can always get training and coaching.

And, there’s school. Dayjob. Priorities for the moment, and when those priorities don’t include being in front of the microphone, I have to wonder if I’m doing enough, if I’m working hard enough to be considered “serious” about narration or writing.

Normal. Self-doubt is normal. Doesn’t make things easier to manage, but it’s normal. And the only solution right now is to keep going and provide the evidence to show improvement and just get better. And, of course, that takes time. Only variable is time.

EDIT: And then, I get a message that tells me that I’m doing all right. I love Canada.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 9:47 pm and is filed under voiceovers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Community-Induced Self-Doubt”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    I’ve been doing this sort of second-guessing about new folks an awful lot myself, especially recently. I used to be better, but that was before I lost a dear friend to cancer. That couldn’t be avoided, so now I have to figure out things I swear I used to know, like how to trust strangers despite the risks. Yes, I’ll get hurt when I get back to that, but the emptiness of never trusting can be far, far worse than the pain of trust betrayed. So I’ll just have to re-learn it. {odd look}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    P.S. That message involving Canada had great timing! I’m glad for you. {BIG SMILE}


  2. Doc Coleman Says:

    I feel like I’m about to commit every sin you worry about committing. Onward…

    You worry that you don’t fit in among narrators? *I* worry about that when I hang out with *you*. I’m still doing freebies and begging for bit parts in order to get my voice and my name out there (when I’m not completely shut down by the latest domestic disaster). You’re turning away work because you’re over booked. Over booked.You have a steady income from work you’ve already done. Trust me, you measure up.

    Self doubt from time to time is normal. But it just a doubt. A fantasy. Not real.

    You’re doing great. Really.