We all know that little voice, the one that interrupts us while we’re in the middle of a perfectly good scene (thank you very much) and whispers, “This is complete rubbish. What are you doing? You can’t finish this, and no one would want to read it even if you did! Who do you think you are?”
If you’re a self-published writer/author like me, you probably hear this voice even more often. All we have to back us up is ourselves, and let’s face it: we’re not great cheerleaders.
Well, you’re not alone! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled with this feeling, what psychologists call “imposter syndrome,” or basically, a lack of confidence in your work. It’s especially hard when you feel like no one’s listening, no one cares – and once again, self-published writers are hit hard here, because we pretty much entirely depend on our audience to let us know (or not) if our stuff is good. A comment is golden. Likes are nice. But static silence? Yeesh! You begin to wonder if you’re really making a difference doing this writing thing.
So, what do you do when that pesky little guy starts telling you you’re a fraud?
I’ve found this to be absolutely the best thing you can do. Once you stop, imposter syndrome has won. The number one way you can beat it is by simply continuing to write – no matter what it is. Just the fact that you’re still going is a huge achievement. Turn on some good music, look at your story notes, write about your favourite character. Show that imposter syndrome who’s boss, and keep writing anyway.
The second best thing you can do is realise something I hope you’ve already realised from this post:
You’re not alone.
To be honest, I don’t think I know a writer who doesn’t get this feeling, at least from time to time. You’re not the only one who feels like they’re not good enough; in fact, I imagine that most people experience this at least once in their lives, though of course, writers being writers, we tend to experience it quite often.
Of course, these things won’t make that voice go away forever. It’s something you’ll probably have to deal with for your whole writing career – but that doesn’t make you any less of a writer. Actually, it probably makes you more of one.
It will be difficult, especially when it feels like people don’t care. But one thing I’ve been telling myself recently is that all I can do is my best, and the rest is up to God. If you’re following your calling and giving your all, one day, someone will care. And if your writing makes a difference in even just a single person’s life, isn’t it worth it?
So keep going. Talk to other writers and remember you’re not alone in this. Together, we’ll crush the annoying little bug that is imposter syndrome, and we’ll keep writing no matter what!
Have a great weekend, everyone, and happy writing!
Read more about my experiences with imposter syndrome, writing as a pantser, and more by following my journey as I rewrite my YA novel for traditional publication! And subscribe to my monthly emails to get insider tips on how to become a freelance fiction writer, exclusive giveaways, opportunities to be on a launch team, and more!
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