Imposter Syndrome

Thanksgiving is tomorrow which means that you may very well find yourself sitting across the table from someone who questions your writing credentials.  “So how is that little story that your working on?” Never mind that you are in the midst of NaNoWriMo and have written thousands of words this month alone.  You are still only dabbling.

How do you respond?

For a lot of us it is really difficult because we truly feel like imposters.  Who am I to call myself a writer?  I’ve only sold one article/poem/book.  No one I know has even read it.  What if I can’t do it again?

I just watched a TedTalk Sydney with entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes on imposter syndrome.  Specifically, he talks about using it to your advantage. That’s the video above.

He talks about winning an Australian award for young entrepreneurs and feeling like a complete fraud when he won. How could he deserve it more than anyone else in the room?  At the international dinner in Monte Carlo he learned that other people there felt the same way, even people who had way more experience and success and thousands of employees.

His advice?  Just keep on going.  No one with a suit is going to come up to you and say “hey, you gotta stop what you’re doing.”  So just do it.

It isn’t just our characters who have dark moments.  Each and every writer I know, including those who are also editors, sometimes feels like just giving up.  Who are they to call themselves writers when someone else writes more, gets nominated for awards or already has sales?

Here me say it.  We all feel that way.

So how does this help you at the big family event?  Just because you some times feel like an imposter doesn’t mean that you are an imposter. When someone asks you a cheeky question about how your little efforts are going, just smile.  “Quite, well thank you.”  Of course, if you are feeling especially cheeky yourself, you can tag a bit more on.  “Quite, well thank you. And, by the way, what’s your biggest fear?  I’d hate to get it wrong.”




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