On Imposter Syndrome

Now, many people feel this: writing, not to mention publishing your work, feels like it’s something for those folks known as OTHERS. You know; the other people, for whom this is all a breeze; the people who have their stuff together and who know so much more than you. They’re better read, more connected, more clever, more everything and OBVIOUSLY better writers.

There are deep and uncomfortable reasons why you – we! – may feel this way, but I said short and bolstering, so here we go. First it is common to feel this way. Then, I suspect it is part of the human condition to feel like an outsider and it can feel scary – get in, or you will be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger – to be on the outside of something. So, learn to accept these feelings and breathe through them. Then, know that doubt about your role, life and, to stay on topic, writing, are natural. Doubt is a function of intellect because you are examining what you are doing. I’d argue it makes you a better writer. It’s also part of self-reflection, of being self-aware and, frankly, of empathy.


Yes, it’s the arrogant twats.

The people who feel like they have it all together and know what they are doing, impervious to change, prompt from others and, frankly, worse at their work for this and frequently damaging. It’s true in all walks of life, I would argue.

Fortunately, my darling, you are not an arrogant twat. Look at you there with your impostery hotness! Plough on, tell people you feel this way, know that it is natural and, most importantly, do not let it chew you up so you cannot write. Doubt, gone a long way, can eviscerate your sense of self, of vocation. It makes dust of your creativity, so keep an eye on it and don’t let it go so far. Write through it, talk about it, talk back to it and here is a glittering merit sticker for a job well done.

Claim your spot. Yes, there is clearly work to be done in the publishing industry, on access, on support, but there is room for you. Tell yourself that as your starting point and know I am cheering you on.