How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

If sitting down for hours wasn’t a big enough challenge for most writers, you’ll also find your head throwing as many obstacles as it can in your way.

‘You’re not good enough.’

‘That last book’s success was just luck, you won’t be able to repeat it.’

‘Who are you to think you’re a writer? – You barely scraped through English at school.’

‘You’re going to be found out.’

Welcome to the the world of the impostor.

And boy does that little voice love nothing more than to tell you that you don’t belong in the writing club.

Where that club is, or how you become a member, it never tells you.

But just know that it exists and your sad attempts at being a writer will make sure you never learn the secret handshake to gain entry to it.

Me. I still have it. Even as I’m writing these words that voice is talking to be right now.

‘Who are you to talk about impostor syndrome?’

‘You wish you were that good!’

‘You’re not even a good blog writer. Now there are other bloggers out there that deserve that title. – Your weekly chicken scratching and brain farts don’t qualify you to even have that title.’

Yes, it’s a little shit.

And when you do have some success, it’ll be quick to point out the downside of that success.

But today I hope to bring an end to it’s mastery over you. – Not that you can ever kill it because it’s hard to kill a bad thing.  – Watch any horror film.

In fact by the end of this post, the best I can hope to give you is a size twelve boot that you can stand on it’s throat to silence it.

A bit much I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Here’s three ideas that can pull apart the hold it has over you.

1 – You’re A Bad Writer – I’ll be honest with you, you’re a bad writer. But compared to the one you were last year you’re probably a whole lot better. 

The writer today isn’t the one that’ll be here tomorrow.  The thoughts,  connections, and writing you make today, are on things you’ve learned so far. 

Every word you write, every book you read, every conversation and life experience you have is taking you a footstep from that point.

Even if you never wrote a word in twelve months the person that comes back here to read this post will be different one. – The little voice doesn’t tell you that or wants you to know that.

You mightn’t be on top of your game right now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always be that way.

2 –  There Will Always Be Someone Better Than You –  A horse or a car can travel faster than I can, but I’m nether one. – The same goes for you.

There will always be writers better than you, look forward to them for inspiration.  But don’t compare yourself to them.

There will always be people who have more talent, had a better English teacher than you had,  or who don’t have to force themselves to sit down to write, get over it.

Just like being tossed out of a plane at random places, life has parachuted you into somewhere that mightn’t be the best starting place for growth.  Again,  get over it.

Don’t forget, there are other writers who’ve landed in worse places than you are right now that would love to have the time, money, or that shiny new Apple Mac you have. – Stop looking around and focus on your own running lane.

The little shit  loves nothing more than to try to make you aware of all the runners at all times.

Run you own race, and remember that there will always be someone better than you.  But if you keep going, you’ll eventually reach the finish line too.

3 – ‘Your’ Reader Is Waiting – Somewhere out there, someone’s waiting for your book. Somewhere out there, someone is waiting for a character to fall in love with.  Somewhere out there, someone is looking for inspiration.

They’re not waiting for anyone, they’re waiting for you and your words. – They just don’t know it yet.

There’s no one that could write this blog post like I did. Some would have used better words, better descriptions or put greater thought into it. Then there are others who would write one with less depth than me and be happy with it.

For each of us, we’re going to have people who’ll like or dislike that piece. The ones that do, are my audience. The ones that don’t, may be yours.

Thing is, if you don’t put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard,  you’ll never know.

Just remember that the stories you create, the character you develop, or inspiration you give, is going to find a home, but only if you put it out there.

Forget about other people’s audiences and just start working on building your own.  Make them happy and you’ll never work a day in your life.

The life of a writer is sometimes more a mental one than a physical one.  And it’s this mental battle ground you need to conquer to keep going.

For every plot twist and plotting point that comes to aid you, you’re going to find a lone thought from the past, hoping to kick over a tent peg and watch your Big Top come tumbling down.

The more attention you give it, the quicker it’ll undo all you’ve done.

But if you look it in the eye and say, ‘How can I be an impostor if there’s no one around like me?’ That’s when you’ll catch it off guard.

Once you have that moment, take my advice and bring that size twelve down good and hard.

That’s what I’m doing right now as I hit the publish button. 

I’d advise you to do the same.  🙂