For the past couple of weeks I have been working on the free eBook I am making out of The Digital Quill’s Writing Tips. I struggled with what to create at first, since I do both fiction and nonfiction. I went through my previous works, including blogging and prayed for guidance. That brought me to offer writing tips (focusing on the actual writing process and not publishing, which I will probably keep for another future freebie!)
Do you know what hit me when I started taking notes about that booklet? Impostor Syndrome.
The bugger hit hard, I can tell you! It was a weird feeling because I am more confident in my author’s accomplishments at this point. I know I have learned a lot and will continue to do so. I even had a semi regular blogging series where I answered people’ questions about writing at some point. So why was I suddenly swamped by Impostor Syndrome?
It took me a little while to realize that I had never embarked on an actual book (or booklet) devoted to writing tips and I wasn’t sure that I was qualified to do it. The irony is that I now feel it will probably be one of my focuses when it comes to nonfiction. Yet, it didn’t make me kick the Impostor Syndrome back to its box right away. That took me a few days and here is how I did it:
Take a Breath
That might sound obvious but it wasn’t my first reaction. When I realized that it was likely to stop me on my tracks, I became proactive about it and gave myself a short break, much shorter than if I had let self-doubt coax me fully. I gave myself a day or so of break to focus on other things. That still included reading more about writing, publishing, blogging as well as faith-related topics which are subjects I read about almost everyday.
By giving myself space to still do things and yet allow for breathing room, without worrying about the project causing me issues, I was able to get some distance to come back to tackle the issue at hand.
Look at Your Past Achievements (and the Future Ones You Have Cooking)
I didn’t try to smack myself on the head or give my self-doubting mind a pep talk. Instead, I just went through my publications lists, reread some reviews I had, interviews I gave to others or that they offered me, all the guest blog posts I contributed to other sites over the past years. I nurtured myself with not only past achievements but I also opened my research and current/future projects folders.
I anchored myself in tangible realizations (what I already did) and what I have in store to add to that (what I am currently writing and want to write later on). It gave me perspective and showed me that I have been busy, productive and that I might very well know what I’m talking about when it comes to writing.
Remember Your Calling
No matter what, I am a writer. This has been part of my identity for many years and throwing it away would be a huge mistake. Is it always easy? No, but I don’t think any calling ever is. The hard work is worth it. The Impostor Syndrome? That is just an annoyance that doesn’t belong in my mind or heart. I do my best to grow and will continue to do so.
What does this mean for the booklet I am working on? I am offering advice based on my experience so far and I might update the content within the next years as I learn more. But for now, I know that what I present in it is helpful and the best I can offer at this moment in my writer’s life.
What about you? Have you ever struggled with Impostor Syndrome? Did you use any tips similar to the ones mentioned in this post? Do you have other ways of coping with it?