Impostor syndrome has been on my mind lately, partly due to that viral thing Neil Gaiman wrote about it and also because I follow Chuck Wendig’s blog Terribleminds and he just wrote a whole article on impostor syndrome and how to deal with it. Seriously recommended, especially if you want to hear a good solid technique.

What he wrote really inspired me, at a time when I needed inspiration (i.e. my very first e-book will be coming out in the next few months and I am scared spitless.)

What makes me think I can do this? How crazy do I have to be, to think I can run with the big dogs and not get eaten? My newness will shine out, a giant neon pimple, and everyone will laugh and no one will buy my book. It feels like the worst kind of hubris. Like I’m an impostor.

Wow. And everyone feels like that? Chuck Wendig says so. Neil Gaiman says so. In fact, lots of successful people feel just the same. We’re all (even the ones who look like they totally have it together) bumbling around waiting for everyone else to do this:

off off

Being an author is not for the faint-hearted. I’m not even talking about the “art” portion of it. It requires strength, resilience, grit, stubbornness and pure persistence to get your art out there in the first place, much less stick around through desperate marketing and bad reviews.

Every step in the process can be described with one gif. I’ve used it before, but it is SO ACCURATE:

No gif

You’re the mole, in case you were wondering.

Lots of doors are going to close. Right in your face. Not just close, but slam shut. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish, you will hear a lot of “No”s. This isn’t for us, I just didn’t feel strongly enough to champion it, we wish you the best of luck, publishing is a very subjective business, no reviews, bad reviews, no sales. It’s tough.

To get through it, I’ve decided to follow Chuck Wendig’s advice to roll with the feeling, and also to be Emperor Kuzco. When the doors close in my face, I will go right ahead and do this:

boom baby

I think I need an Emperor hat, too. It will make the door-kicking feel a lot more legit.

I will keep reminding myself, “You’ve got this.” It’s OK to have confidence in yourself and your work. A little pride wouldn’t be out of place. Not everyone can run the gauntlet of No that is writing and emerge with sanity intact. This goes for anyone reading, too! You are tough, and you have grit. Impostor syndrome will creep in, so remember that even the most successful of us feel like that and kick it right back out. Boom, baby!

If you need some more confidence boosting, try Be Proud of Your Writing. Leave me a comment about your own brush with impostor syndrome, or how you deal with hearing lots of No.



Featured image via and Thong Vo