A friend over the weekend told me he suffered from impostor’s syndrome.
He didn’t know what it was at first. I told him. Then he suddenly came to the conclusion that he indeed suffered from it.
I asked him this simple question.
He worked for years at one of the largest newspapers in the state, worked his way up from smaller papers to get there, and doesn’t have a college degree. His writing alone, and reporting, made him stand apart so much from the field that papers bent rules to get him to work for them.
Yet, he finds himself paralyzed to write a book.
This is a common theme in writing.
I told him one simple thing.
“You’re a badass.”
He’s not the only one.
If you write, you’re a badass
So many writers don’t want to get in touch with their inner badass. It’s a freaking disease. They are afraid of failure. But without failure, you never have success. Most of the time, they don’t even define success. Is success in writing a best-selling novel?
What’s a best seller? The New York Times uses one matrix, USA Today has its own formula and Amazon has its status symbols.
Okay, so it’s writing a New York Times bestseller, let’s say.
You wrote a sprawling 100,000-word novel, edited it and no one is beating down your door to say this work is the golden child of all things and they now want to shower you with money and make all your dreams come true.
And you don’t see yourself as successful.
That’s bullshit. Do you know how many people write a book? Off the top of my head, I don’t have statistics, but based on my experience, I can say this with good authority.
Most people are in love with the idea of writing a book. They don’t love doing it.
Maybe you aren’t writing a book. Maybe you’re giving a shot at freelancing articles. You decide to take that step and you write your first one. You get some rejections.
Do you know how many people talk about doing that but never do it?
More than you think.
Just putting some words on paper or online already puts you ahead of the curve.
You are one badass mother&*%er.
Want to know what’s holding you back?
You’re thinking about it.
Yep. The whole idea of writing is centered around thinking and creativity, but your superpower is also your kryptonite. You think too damn much about what happens afterward and things you have no control over.
You obsess over one project without going on to the next project and thinking you could write something even better or use your creativity in another way, giving yourself even more of a fighting chance to get published or on the best-seller list.
You’re in love with one thing.
It doesn’t love you back.
That article you think is the greatest thing will not come off the computer screen and give you a gigantic nonfiction hug. That 100,000-word book? Don’t think for a second if you print off all the pages it’s going to keep you warm at night and snuggle up to you.
They are just words. They are just stories.
You’re thinking too damn much about it.
What do you do?
Quit thinking about it.