How to Learn to Love Imposter Syndrome

I hate my writing.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love the creative process — discovering new characters, putting them through seven kinds of hell, hauling them back from the brink at the most dramatic moment.

And I’m also hooked on that rush of finally nailing the various story arcs — when all the plot points drop at the right moments, all the emotional milestones smack me with just the right sting.

But in between, there is a long, long period full of self-doubt and self-loathing.

When I find reading the words and sentences I’ve penned — over and over, again and again — is a special kind of torturous endurance test for me.

Some moments it’s even worse than my day job!

But I assume this is normal for all creative folk.

Joanna Penn, in her fantastic handbook for surviving the writer’s journey, The Successful Author Mindset, writes about this as ‘imposter syndrome’, and says it happens to even the most successful of authors.

In a nutshell, impostor syndrome is an overwhelming feeling of being a fraud.

Now the fornits never actually use the word fraud when they whisper in my ear, but they leave little doubt as to their contempt for my art.

And once they start to whisper, the word mill grinds to a halt.

The very conceit that I could even think about writing is laughable.

When the world finds out how I’ve duped them, they’ll demand pounds of flesh by way of recompense.

How very dare I aspire to such lofty dreams?

Joanna, however, writes about embracing this self-doubt — accept that it’s part of your creative process.

She reckons if imposter syndrome is snaking its way into your writing consciousness, you’re probably doing pretty well as a writer.

Every author experiences it (with the possible exception of Brandon Sanderson) — those who survive are the ones who learn to love it.

Joanna exorcises her imposter syndrome in the pages of a journal.

Personally, I’ve found (and even then only recently) when I’m crippled with self-doubt, I need to take a break from scaling Mount Editing and create something new — even if it’s only a humble blog post.

Find that part of the writing process you love the most and distract yourself (not too much — you have deadlines, remember?) and re-learn to love your talent.

How do you (or, indeed, will you) overcome imposter syndrome?

All images from pixabay

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