Imposter Syndrome

Happy Friday everyone. Casey here. If you have a moment, please stop by my blog. I’m hosting another Goodreads giveaway to celebrate the paperback release of The Undead Space Initiative.

Lighthouse, Stonington CT In case you hadn’t yet heard the news, Mystic Storm will be published in 2013. And while this is my third published novel, I still feel like a giant imposter.

Like someone is going to single me out and yell – “Fake! Fraud! She’s not a real writer!”

I know that sounds totally ridiculous but I know I’m not the only one who sometimes feels this way. I have heard an established NY Times bestselling author admit to having the same feeling - that no matter how many novels you write and sell that this one might be your last.

That you will never, ever write anything “good” again. Your career will be over!! You’ll be a “has been”, the equivalent of a dried up old spinster.

Eek! What’s a writer to do? Well, for starters, it’s time for a reality check.

By the power invested in me I say to you -  You’re a writer. A real, honest to goodness writer. Doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, published big, published small, self-published, or any variation in between. If you’re dedicated to the craft of storytelling and you are actively putting words on a page, you’re a writer.

Feel better?

If not, and you’re still fretting,consider this:

1. Ignorance is bliss. Remember back in the early days of writing before you knew any of the “rules”? When it was a thrill just to type those words on the page and “publication” was some far off dream on a distant shore? If you find yourself traveling down the road of uncertainty, hark back to that earlier time. Too many “rules” equals zero fun. Ditch’em. Be that dreamer again. The completion of one book doesn’t mean you’re doomed to never write another good story again.

2. There are many paths to publication. Readers don’t care who published your novel. All they want are well-written, entertaining stories. I know I don’t go looking for books based on who published them. I just want to read something good and judge accordingly.

3. Tell the Doubt Monster to shut his (or her) gob. If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, consider it a form of self-doubt. Cut it out.

And finally, square your shoulders, hold your head up high and be proud of your accomplishments (no matter how big or small they are that day, week or month).

Now say it with me – “I am writer, hear me roar!”

Time for the truth – who else has had imposter syndrome? And what are your suggestions for combatting it?

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16 thoughts on “Imposter Syndrome”

  1. A couple of years ago, I first read about Imposter Syndrome, and I thought, “That’s me!”

    I work harder than I have to because I’m always afraid someone will find out that I don’t have ALL the answers.

    In my writing, I’m paranoid people will find out certain stories didn’t fly from my fingertips, that I struggled with the characters, rewrote half the book, that I forced myself to finish.

    And unless I make a conscious effort to forget, I find myself struggling with the idea that I’m not a real writer.

    The silver lining in that? I work really hard on improving myself–in finding the answers, honing my craft, filling the gaps in my knowledge. I just know that one day, I won’t feel like an imposter anymore.

    Great post!

    1. You know that is good way to think of it, Meggan. I do think that if once someone starts believing they are awesome and can do no wrong, then they are doomed to eventual mediocrity! Sometimes I wonder if that is what happens to some of the huge authors (you know the ones, where we all wonder why their editors don’t stop them). A little fear is a great motivator.

  2. Okay Casey, caught! I love this post, I chuckled through, and decided maybe I really am becoming a writer? With each POV I write, I read it over and over and say is this deep enough, or is it still shallow? Did I grab the reader with that brief blurb? Yesterday’s blog was my first public short story. I am biting my nails awaiting my famous critics review. Am I truly on the write road?

  3. Imposter, party of one! I think about this often, Casey. It took me until I’d published my fourth book before it hit me and I finally acknowledged that I was even published. Some day, I might even have a real release party to celebrate, LOL. Thanks for the pep talk, sweetie!

  4. Great post. Love the penguins. Congrats on the releases! Oh … there I go falling off topic, again. Yes, everytime I finish a novel I have that fear that I will never come up with another good story line again. Like never, ever, ever (I type, as that Taylor Swift song plays in my mind). But then, a name will whisper into my mind and I start to think about the character who would have such a name, and before I know it … I’m there writing.

  5. Self-doubt is my middle name, but I push through it anyway. I can’t wait to read Mystic Storm. I loved your first two novels, I’m sure this one is a winner too.
    Great post.

    1. Thanks Janna. It was a huge relief to finish Mystic Storm. I wish you lived near us Janna. At our RWA chapter’s March meeting, I’m doing a session on battling the Doubt Monster. The never ending nemesis!

  6. Great blog. You know, I never think about it, the Imposter Syndrome. Every day is so busy seems like I’m running from one thing to another. Besides, insecurity is a woman’s chronic condition.

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