3 Ways Writers Can Conquer Imposter Syndrome
Let's face the elephant in the room...most authors doubt the quality of their writing. For some reason or other, we convince ourselves that everyone else is better at writing. Sooner or later, someone is bound to expose us for the fakes that we are. What business do we have trying to write a full-length novel?
It was real for me. When I started my drafts, there was this looming shadow of doubt that my story wouldn't be good enough...I wouldn't be good enough. What if nobody read my books? What if they gave me horrible reviews? What if I couldn't sell any copies? Sooner or later, someone's going to realize I don't fit in...
Enter Imposter Syndrome. If you're not familiar with the term, Imposter Syndrome refers to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and/or fear of failing based on skill level. Yeah...it sucks.
The reason it's so powerful, and relatable, is that it all starts in the same place---our minds. That powerful brain that created an entire literary universe and dynamic characters is now your number one enemy. I bet you didn't see that plot twist when first starting out as a writer, huh? I know I didn't.
But there's hope! Here are the 3 tricks to FINALLY conquer your imposter syndrome:
1. Publish Your Work!
This one may sound like a given, but there are plenty of writers out there who never take the publishing plunge. If you talk to a writer, you may be surprised to hear something like, "I've written four books, but they'll never see the light of day."
But why? I say...
You've put your heart and soul into that work of art. That is precisely what it is---a work of art. It deserves to be seen and enjoyed.
For my own personal journey, I felt a lot of my fears and anxiety lessen once I finally hit "publish". The hard part was over and the looming shadow began to fade. I had accomplished a dream that had always seemed so distant. For better, for worse, I did it. I could hold my book at last. It had all been worth it.
* Now, I am an indie author. I chose this route because after a thorough amount of research, I felt it was the right direction for me. I don't regret it one bit. If you are pursuing traditional publishing, then take this "go for it" step as advice to take the leap and query agents. You'll never know until you try, and try, and try again.
2. Keep Writing!
You had a great idea for a book. You can even see it all play out in your head. However, as soon as you sit down to write...nothing. A blank screen stares back at you. (Don't worry, you'll get inspiration later...like in the shower or when you're drifting off to sleep. I have made plenty of TikToks on this subject alone.)
This is when the little voice inside your head starts to whisper, "Maybe you're not meant to write a book." That's a lie. "See? You can't do it." Another lie. "How come all these other writers can do it? Why is it so easy for them?" Lies, lies, LIES.
Notice a pattern?
Imposter Syndrome is a LIE. Yes, it's a real thing that can cause us crippling anxiety, but it's all based on a lie---that you can't do it. And the longer you believe that lie, the longer you will take to achieve your dream.
The next time you hear those thoughts--excuse me, lies, I want you to do one thing for me: keep writing.
My favorite quote on this subject is:
"You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page." --Jodi Picoult
That quote stirred something within me to keep writing and believe in myself. Don't give up. Your story has an audience. It deserves to be told.
3. Connect with Authors!
Social media has done one thing right. It has allowed a wonderful opportunity for people to connect with people who share the same passions. BookTok, for example, really helped me connect with other authors. I began posting the humorous side of being an author mom...and I began gathering a following. It was so unexpected, but others related to me! It was an eye-opening experience. I wasn't alone! Even published authors questioned their work. They had doubts! And everyone agreed that publishing their work was worth it and made them stronger.
Follow your favorite authors, Booktokers, and bloggers. Comment, review, and connect. You'll see that what once was scary starts to feel welcoming. The writing community is strong and supportive. Other authors aren't your competition. They are your family and village to help guide you through this rollercoaster of emotions.
To recap: Take the plunge and publish, keep writing despite the struggles, and connect with other authors. Yes, it will take time. It's not an instant fix. But if you do these things, and believe in your stories, Imposter Syndrome will quit knocking at your door. And if not, you'll have army alongside you. Happy writing. :)
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