Imposter Syndrome: We All Suffer as Writers

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A friend recently posted on social media that he felt insecure about his writing and he didn’t think that would ever end.

Funny, but I was thinking the same thing that morning as well. Imposter syndrome had wrapped its tentacles around me, and thoughts of, well I can’t talk about writing to other people because I haven’t written a best-selling book, I’m not a New York Times reporter and I’ve never traditionally published with one of the Big 5 publishing houses.

I’m an imposter. I am not a writer. I never will be until I meet X criteria and Y criteria.

Only one problem.

I’ll never meet the criteria. I mean number one, I don’t even want to be a New York Times reporter, and, number two, if I do meet the other two criteria it won’t matter. The bar will go higher. There will be other excuses on why I’m not good enough, not strong enough, and gosh darn it people don’t like me.

We all have it.

The resume, though, speaks other ways. I’ve been writing fiction for 35 years. One more year, and I could have graduated high school twice during that time. Just weeks ago, I won two awards in reporting and that’s just the latest of more than 30 journalistic awards. I can’t and don’t even count them anymore.

I’ve self-published a novel. I’ve written two more. I’m shopping my latest novel to a traditional publisher.

I’ve published short stories and poetry in several magazines.

Do I sound like I’m bragging?

Yes. Because I can brag. I’ve had 35 years of writing experience which has given me the right to brag a little. My friend has reason to brag. He’s published at least half a dozen novels and has an expert view on how to use language and write. I see that just from reading his social media posts.

But we’re all still imposters. We’re taught that bragging is evil and humility is king.

It can’t be anymore. Not in today’s world. Not in a world where you market yourself, brand yourself, and sell yourself. The days of being able to skate by on a marketing budget from a big book deal are over. It’s just me and you, kid. It’s up to us to tell the world who we are and what we can offer.

You, as a writer, have a lot to offer. I, as a writer, have a lot to offer.

We are not artificially intelligent computer programs that hack the system and spit out copy like robots. We are creatives that hack into passions and show the world art and meaning to life.

So, brag a little. Look at your work and smile. Then get started on the next project, so you can smile a bit more and have a little more to brag about yourself.

I know I need to brag a little.

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