Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

From Writers Helping Writers:

Have you ever felt unqualified for a job even though you have extensive training? Do you ever shy away from giving advice because you believe that what you have to say is wrong or unimportant—even though you know what you’re talking about? 

When I graduated and took on my first clients, I had nightmares about how others would receive me. I questioned myself constantly; Do you know what you’re talking about? Who would trust you to guide their writing? Regardless of the knowledge and experience I had, that little voice in the back of my mind continued to cast doubt, uncertainty, and fear.

I lived with this feeling for years. In fact, I still struggle with it. I figured it was a part of my brain trying to make me better at my craft, so I continued learning and growing. What I didn’t know is that this feeling doesn’t go away, at least not on its own. You have to consciously work to eradicate it.

I didn’t know until recently that this feeling had a name: impostor syndrome. It’s not a diagnosed syndrome, but around 70% of creative minds struggle with this issue. That’s a sizable portion of us. Impostor syndrome is the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite accomplishments. It is the feeling that all of your accomplishments result from luck. It is a psychological phenomenon to which most creatives can relate.

For writers, impostor syndrome attacks your unique “voice”, and it can be the worst feeling in the world. It causes anxiety, stress, fear, low self-confidence, and even shame and depression. If allowed to go unchecked, it can lead to less risk-taking and missed opportunities. 

Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers

1 thought on “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome”

  1. I had impostor syndrome for a very long time.

    Then I realized I had put the hours in to learn the craft, and that feeling like an impostor tended to accompany learning something new again, something that I hadn’t tackled or mastered yet – again.

    So now, when it catches me, I note the occurrence – and get to work putting in the hours. It is a warning sign that I have to do some investigating to figure out what has triggered it this time, and then the research and reading and practicing to learn the new thing.

    I think there will always be new things that need mastering, but I don’t have to wallow in the warning feeling because I know now what it means.

    Saves time. And grief. Wish I’d learned that sooner.

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