Eventually in your writing career, especially once you’ve published once or twice, you’ll receive some semblance of admiration from people. Some will be people you admired as you struggled. Some even might be authors you’ve idolized or teachers who knocked sense into a concept, who you could never thank enough for shaking you from whatever doldrums you were in. Suddenly, they admire you.
Or let’s say you place in a contest. It’s great! But then you consider the win a fluke, a positive event that will not repeat itself. You are grateful, of course, but not expecting to do it again.
What we are doing is trying to lessen the blow of rejection, disapproval, and criticism. Most of the famous, successful, and influential people of this world wrestle with the Imposter Syndrome. We call it grounding ourselves. Keeping it real. Avoiding being labeled arrogant or self-absorbed. We consider ourselves big fishes in small ponds for a temporary moment, then crawl back into our mudbanks and write for ourselves, ever dreaming of one day doing well.
Even gifted geniuses think this way, almost sabotaging themselves from the success they are due.
The easiest way to cope with the imposter syndrome is to take everything at face value.
When you do well embrace it, accept the accolades. When complimented, just say thank you, without the buts, excuses, or “I don’t deserve it” words, because at that moment in time, you do.
When you get rejected, don’t look for blame. Just know that your piece was not the best fit for where you submitted it. Back up, learn from the experience, then move on. Rewrite or resubmit.
The good or the bad, just chalk it up as part of the journey. All that angst, name-blaming, and emotional baggage that comes with thinking you’re a fraud just saps your creative energies. Take each step of this writing business as a rung on a ladder and a lesson to learn from. You are not an imposter. You are on a fresh journey you hope to travel the rest of your life. And like any journey, enjoy the scenery.
Everyone Suffers from Impostor Syndrome
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries.