Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Imposter Syndrome

During a morning of writing, I check my email about a thousand times, pop over to Facebook again and again and again, and even bop in to Twitter and Pinterest before I've finished the scene. Yes indeedy, folks, I am a procrastinator.

But I am not alone.

Turns out lots of writers drag out their writing sessions, putting off pounding out their word count goal by procrastinating on the internet, or doing laundry, or cleaning the garage, or pretty much anything else except for writing. What's up with that?

Fear, usually.

Whether it's conscious or not, writers must face the terror of writing something that is sub par, something that will put a blight on their name . . . something no one will want to read. If/when that happens then the world at large will figure out that you are clearly not a "real" author. You're a big fat fake. This is so common that it has a name:

Imposter Syndrome ~ 
The fear of being unmasked as the incompetent you believe yourself to be.

Lots of people suffer from this hidden fear, mostly successful people and particularly women. Even so, it is possible to succeed because eventually as your deadline looms, the fear of not meeting that deadline surpasses the terror of being discovered you're a fraud. But if that survival instinct doesn't kick in, here are a few more ways to deal with your imposter syndrome . . .

Focus on Providing Value
The quickest way to get past feeling like a fraud is to try to help someone else. Focus on the message of your story.

Stop the Comparisons
It's never a good idea to compare yourself to someone else, and if you do, you'll find this increases the tendency for imposter syndrome. Don't try to write like someone else. Write like you.

Treat Your Art Like a Business
Believe it or not, lives are not hanging in the balance because of your writing. Nurture the mindset that your art is business and that you have a product to produce. This takes away the ethereal must-be-perfect attitude toward what you're making and instead frees you to get done what you need to.

You, my twitchy little writerly friend, are not alone in feeling like a fraud. Here is my open invitation for you to sit down at the big authorly table and take your seat amongst writers. There are no prerequisites, just a burning desire to write and write and write.

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