I always try to encourage my social media community to ask questions. I want to help them and encourage them to write, publish and ultimately achieve their dream of becoming an author.
One person, in particular, did just that. They emailed me and asked for help because she was facing major imposter syndrome as a writer.
As I replied to her, I came up with a list of things that I thought might help her through the mindset block that was affecting the way she felt.
Our mindset can really change the way we feel and cause us to slow down or quit altogether. Don’t let this happen to you!
Here are some things you should think about to help you work through imposter syndrome as a writer:
What caused you to feel inadequate? What were you just thinking? What were you watching or listening to? Why do you think that origin made you doubt yourself?
If you can find what has caused you to doubt yourself, you can try to avoid it again in the future.
I want you to do three simple things.
First, I want you to make a list of what you think it means to be a writer. For example, someone might say that writers are published, or that they’re paid for their writing. This is your own personal definition of a “writer”.
Next, I want you to figure out what it is you really want. Where do you see yourself in ten years? How do you see yourself getting there? What steps will it take? What do you need to learn? What skills do you need to develop?
These are your goals as a writer and they’re important because they give us an idea of what kind of writer we’re training ourselves to be. If we don’t have specific goals, we can’t know how our writing should look or what kind of things we should be trying.
It’s impossible for me to tell you how your writing should look if I don’t know where exactly it is that your heading—and the same goes for yourself! It’s okay if those goals change over time; just try to keep them in mind as much as possible so that what’s happening now makes sense later on down the line. It helps to keep your mind focused and clear- which in turn will help you stay away from doubt.
Feeling like you’re not good enough can be rooted in not knowing enough. Having an expansive knowledge of writing can help you feel more confident about your particular craft. If you want to learn more about plotting, key plot elements, and plot structure, you should join the Writing Program which is FREE at the time of this posting.
You will also get access to a private FaceBook group where you’ll receive advice and support from other writers.
This may sound weird, but one of the best ways to rekindle your love of writing is to read other people’s work that makes you want to write. Read well-written articles online (check out my blog ;)), or buy a book from an author whose style really speaks to you.
As you read, pay attention to the things about the piece that move you: Is it the way they use words? The way they approach a subject? The way they phrase something? Writing down these observations will help give insight into what inspires your own creative process—and inspire it further.
The fear you are feeling is of the unknown. Maybe you’ve never written a book before or maybe you’ve never written this kind of book. How will this sell? Will people like it? These questions are of the future- of something you don’t know. Let the evidence of your work tell you the truth. Not your imagination of it.
You’re not alone. EVERY writer, regardless of their experience level, has felt fear or imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. So it’s ok if you feel it too. It’s normal.
The good news? You can overcome it.
To start, recognize that you’re feeling this way and own it. From here, you can begin to take steps to make yourself feel more confident in your abilities as a writer.
One way to decrease the grip of imposter syndrome is to remind yourself of past achievements—they help build confidence and show that you’ve already been able to accomplish things, which helps re-frame your perspective. Another idea is to give yourself a pep talk by writing down all the positive qualities about yourself as a writer—and don’t hold back! This kind of self-talk can boost your resilience when it comes to overcoming fear and building confidence in your abilities.
There will always be self-doubt in one form or another, but if we allow that doubt to cripple us and stop us from taking action on our goals, then all we’re doing is cheating ourselves out of what could be amazing opportunities waiting just around the corner.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to be perfect.
You can write the article, post the video, publish the book, speak your truth and still be…human.
Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t born with perfectionism as part of my genetic code. But I do have a mother who is a perfectionist. I see how they work, how they think.
And let me tell you this, your 80% is better than others’ 100%. So if you struggle with perfectionism, maybe shoot for 80% perfection instead of 100%.
This might allow you to finally get stuff done.
How could we possibly live our lives if every action required perfection? Even worse, how can we share our unique gifts with the world when doing so requires us to be flawless?
Shoot for 80%. 🙂
We often compare our word vomit of a draft to others’ polished works. That isn’t fair.
Their polished works have been through a series of edits and transformations. And EVERY one of these writers with polished works has been exactly where you are now. A word vomit of a draft. We all start at the same place.
Don’t quit on yourself before you get to the finish line. Yes, you have a journey ahead of you but don’t let this comparison stop you.
If you’re feeling out of place, know that you have the right to be here and are capable of achieving anything. I think what’s important is to ignore your fears, focus on your strengths, ask yourself what you’re afraid of, and not let it stop you. If you see something that looks interesting or sounds fun but makes you uncomfortable, just keep going! You can do it!
We’re all different and have different things we’d like to write about, so don’t be afraid to unleash your creativity. Just keep writing.
If you need more coaching and help, check out the resources I offer at the Self-Publish Program. Sometimes all we need is a little bit of encouragement and a blueprint to follow.
Good luck future author!
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Besides being a cookie connoisseur, I am a wife, mom of 2 and author of 7. Through my passion of teaching, I created the Self-Publish Program where I help busy women professionally self-publish the book of their dreams on a budget. Follow for more tips!