January 29, 2021

Where Imposter Syndrome Fits in the Writing Process

I feel like imposter syndrome is an integral part of the writing process. That moment when you think everything you write is sh*t and maybe, at that moment, it is. I usually doubt my ability to write in the middle of my first draft. The first half comes to me in a furious hurricane-like storm. It's when I stop to take a breath—which is rather unavoidable—that the doubts creep in.

Today, I felt it again—the word "poser" popped into my head which is just another way to describe imposter syndrome. I was updating my website and I thought—seriously, am I a writer or not? I have two books available for sale now and a third on the way with a few stories available for free via the Chapters: Interactive Stories app. A few years ago, the rights for the first book I published reverted back to me, and it's been "sitting" on the shelf while I figure out what to do with it ever since. Re-publish? Re-write and publish?

So, essentially, I am a two-book author, and I can't even say I'm commercially successful. God, that's depressing. I guess it depends on how you gauge success, in general. My dream was to write and publish—and I've done that and continue to do so. But a writer doesn't really reach the pinnacle of success until they make money (as in royalties exceed marketing and promotional expenses). I'm not there yet. But it just means I have to try harder.

There are lots of legitimate reasons for the short backlist. Writer's block doesn't even factor in. My health is the huge obstacle. When I was healthy, I worked my forty hours and still wrote for three hours everyday—during lunch and after the kids went to bed. I wrote and published my first book in a year. Now? My writing time is a lot less predictable, but as a therapy tool so important. It's the "compare and despair" that gets me. I see other authors... The ones who published thirty books in the last ten years. How do they do it? One word at a time. And I can too. I just need to channel my determination and keep writing.

Despite the doubts—I'm my own worst critic—I do believe I'm a good writer. I love the written word, and I have a crazy, active imagination. Life comes with bumps in the road, and my bumps just happen to be poor health. So, I guess the moral of this story is... don't let my fear and self-doubt stop me from what I'm meant to do. Write.

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