I was really inspired when The Bloggess told the crowd at the bookstore about Neil Gaiman giving her the advice: "Pretend you're good at it." It sounds so simple, but it requires shutting off that annoying voice in my head, the one I call The Perfectionist (other people name the voices in their heads, right? That's not just me, is it?).
The Perfectionist tends to shout things like:
Who the hell do you think you are?
Nobody cares what you think!
You can't write for shit.
So "Pretend you're good at it" is really very different from the phrase "Fake it 'til you make it." As soon as I hear the word "fake" I immediately feel The Perfectionist saying, "Look at you, trying to be somebody special, trying to pretend you're good at something, but you're just a fraud. Do the world a favor, shut the fuck up." Faking it just reinforces your belief that you can't do something whereas pretending allows you to be whatever you want and has no attachment to who you are. You can pretend you're just acting, playing a character. No harm, no foul. You're not trying to change the world, or even change who you are, although maybe after awhile, you might end up changing a little, maybe it won't be pretending as much after awhile.
Right now I'm pretending that I'm a blogger. I'm pretending that I have something to say and maybe a handful of people might want to read it. I'm pretending that all of the pain and suffering I've gone through and all the lessons I've learned have been to prepare me for this.
I've read many articles asking, "How would you finish the sentence 'If I weren't afraid, I would...'" If I weren't terrified, I would write. I'm still terrified, but I'm pretending it's all going to be okay.
What would you do if you weren't afraid?