Accentuate the Positive

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Last week was a bad week for me. Work on my still-top-secret-but-I-promise-I-should-be-able-to-tell-you-soon project wasn’t going well. I was stressed, having trouble writing, and I actually had a few moments where I wondered if I should even be doing this at all. I felt like a fraud for calling myself a writer.

I had to take a step back from my work.

In fact, I ended up going back and re-reading a bunch of stuff I had been working on. It was the best thing I could have done.

Because it reminded me how much I love what I do. And how excited I am about the projects I’m working on. And that I really do have talent, despite what the monster of self-doubt keeps whispering in my ear.

So I decided to take action against my fears. I opened a folder on my computer and called it “You Can Do This.” Then I started copying things into the folder: an email from Bri raving about my work, a couple of positive rejections (just the good parts), and some killer lines I’ve written – even if they ended up cut in revision.

Now, every time I start to feel like I’m a fraud, I have somewhere to go for reinforcements. I can see all these good things and remember why I started doing this in the first place, and know that one set-back or bad day doesn’t mean I’m not capable.

Since then, I’ve checked in with a few writer-friends who are all at the same point in their careers as I am, and it turns out, many of them were feeling the same way. In fact, one of them coined a great phrase for it**. She called it Imposter Syndrome.

Somehow knowing others are going through this too made me feel better. And now that I’ve armed myself against the feeling, maybe I’ll be able to fight my way out of it faster next time it happens.

What about you? Have you ever felt like a writing fraud? Tell me about it in the comments.

**Note: Well, I thought my friend coined the term. Actually it’s a term used by psychologists, and it’s way more common than I knew. You can check out its wiki page here.

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9 comments

  1. Maybe it’s the season because I’ve been feeling the same way. And I went back and read some things I wrote years ago. I had a “wow, I wrote that?” moment.

    • That was a great article. Thanks so much for sharing it. It really covered how I’ve felt recently, and it was definitely right about the part about talking to other about it.

  2. Yes, yes, yes! I am a ‘math’ person by trade, but have found a love of writing in-between my math-related job and my family. Sometimes with writing, I feel like ‘Is it worth it? I’m not a real writer’, but then I get some great feedback from my CP’s who are reading my novel and it makes me want to keep writing.

    • So true. I heard recently that creative people are much more prone to worrying–probably because our imaginations are used to running wild. Sometimes I think we just need a reality check to reign them in.

  3. […] For me, the worst part of this has been the cold call (ok, cold email – it would be so much worse if I had to actually talk to people on the phone). Having to blurb my book and promote myself to total strangers has required more confidence than I thought I possessed (you can check out my posts on confidence here and here) […]

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