Merriam-Webster defines Imposter Syndrome as a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success.
This is what I have been struggling with for the past three months. As I try to continue to grow as a writer and find my style and voice I have felt like an imposter. The persistent voice of doubt in my head has been crushing me these past few months and it has taken up until just two weeks ago to truly start to climb out from under the weight of it all. Once out from under it, I forced myself to work on a project that I was asked to help with that if I’m being honest isn’t that great of an idea in that it’s massively unorganized and lacks inspiration. And yet, I felt that I could improve it, add some proverbial meat to its bones if you will. Plus, it’s a challenge to work with a director who has the images in their own head, but doesn’t know how to pull them out onto a page. It’s a challenge I wanted to take to try and sharpen my skills in various ways.
Has it been fruitful? I think so, but even if the project dies, it served one important thing, forcing me to write again. This brings me back to the Imposter Syndrome that I spoke of. There have been a few projects that I have completed that haven’t come to fruition yet from the people / groups that selected my work and it’s been depressing to not see them come to light yet. Those who have been doing this sort of thing longer than me would now say something like, welcome to the craft and the process. Get used to it. And they’re right, but my inner voice says things like no one wants to read your drivel because you lack knowledge and talent. You should just give up. You will never be seen as a serious writer. I envision this self doubt like the devil on my shoulder while on the other the angel of positivity sits battling with the devil and it’s losing.
That’s just a sample of the crap my self doubt spews at me almost everyday. My lifelong friend, Mark, reached out to me and we had a great conversation about self doubt and the whole Imposter Syndrome and he helped ground me a bit and reminded me to find quiet moments for myself to focus on mindfulness and positive affirmations to try and quiet the self doubt. I have been doing that the past month and it does feel like my angel is starting to win again.
One thing that actually helped is dumping any social media presence I had for my writing. I didn’t have much of a following to begin with and some days I would look at the numbers or lack thereof and feel depressed over it. But I realized that was the wrong way of gauging my growth or success as a writer. I was focusing too much on getting myself out there to get people to like my posts so they would consider checking out my work, but I realized that for me it’s the wrong approach. I need to focus on writing great stories and getting podcasts, publishers, and others to produce or publish them. If I can keep doing that steadily then gradually everything else could fall into place.
I need to focus on putting out good work and not getting clicks and likes to measure my success. If people want to work with me and want to use my work in someway or help me publish it so others can read it, that is success. Sure it would be great if lots of people buy my books, listen to the podcasts I write or whatever it is I put out there, but the fact that it even gets selected is the achievement. That someone read what I wrote and said yes is everything. So that’s where I am putting my focus now.
I’m sharing this to not only let those of you who actually read what I post know what is going on with me, but also to possibly help someone else who is dealing with Imposter Syndrome or just a hell of a lot of self doubt. I have a lot of passion to want to create and for me writing seems to be the best way I can do that. I can’t draw well, I never seemed to stick to playing an instrument, but I love to write even if I didn’t take any courses on it or lack some advanced knowledge. I have a lot of story ideas and feel that I have something to offer so I focus on that and put my best into it. I remind myself that this is a long journey with many difficulties, failures and setbacks, but it’s a journey that is worth taking. After all, it’s the challenges in life that make us stronger and while I will certainly be knocked down, I will get back up even if it takes me longer than normal.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your support.