How do artists get over imposter syndrome? So I’m not sure if they ever do, or even if they even should, right? Certainly, if you’re an aspiring musician, you might say, well, I’ll never be as great as The Beatles, so why should I even try? And that might be true. You probably will never be as great as The Beatles, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something great that you can offer. And if you’re a screenwriter, you may think, yeah, but my script isn’t great. Right? It’s not supposed to be when you start off, it’s not supposed to be, your goal shouldn’t be to write a great script. Your goal should be to write a script that’s better than the last script that you wrote. And that’s why I think it’s so important to keep on writing.

When I first broke into the business, I was a staff writer and just shoot me. And I remember, so I was good enough to get hired at the lowest level. And I remember sitting at the table with the other very experienced, very talented writers, and I’d pitch an idea and it would be met with polite silence. And then they would pitch an idea and everyone would laugh, and that would be great, including me. I was like, their idea is way better than mine. And I remember thinking, I don’t even deserve to sit at the table at the same table at these people with these people. And at lunch, I would ask them for help and their advice. And if you go into that with the honesty, I’m not even being humble. I’m just being honest. Like, Hey, how can I get better? Then they want to help you and if you want to learn, but if you go into this with the attitude of like, I’m already an expert, everyone’s going to hate you, and you’re probably not.
And I’ve seen a lot of young writers get fired that way, or their contracts don’t get picked up because they start arguing with people who they don’t realize how little they don’t know. They don’t know what they don’t know. You understand? So I think you always got to go into, with the eyes of the student always.

Even here in the beginning, I’ve been posting for about a year and a half, and my friend Phil talked me into it and I was like, dude, I can’t don’t want people thinking that I think I’m the king of Hollywood, that I’m, I’m all that because I’m not. And he, he’s like, but you’ve been doing this for 26 years. You know what you’re talking about? I’m like, yeah, but I’m not Aaron Sorkin. I’m not Shonda Rhimes, I’m not Chuck Lorre. I don’t have that kind of success. He’s like, yeah, but you’ve been doing for, you have plenty of success that you can offer advice and they’re not posting every day, and you are. I’m like, all right, well, I guess I can help in that sense, but I’m not diluting myself. And I’ll watch Phoebe Waller Bridge. I thought she had a couple or more than a couple of monologues in Fleabag, which were absolutely stunningly, perfectly written. It was amazing. And I’m like, wow, how did she do that? Or I’ll read David Sedaris. I love his writing. I always have a pen nearby and they’ll underline a line. It’s like, that is like a magic trick. How did he do that? So I think you always feel like, I’m not quite good enough. Can I get better? And then slowly, hopefully you get somewhere near good. Alright? So don’t let that intimidate you. Don’t let great be the enemy of good or something like that. For more what it’s like to be a TV writer. Keep following me @MichaelJaminwriter.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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