The Writers Guide to Imposter Syndrome

by Hannarich Asiedu

What is imposter syndrome, by the way? 

Impostor syndrome (IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.

When I first heard of imposter syndrome as a writer, I immediately dismissed this as something that could not affect me. 

However, I decided to cast a glance at my writing journey so far. I knew I was kidding myself with my initial reaction of denial- I had been battling imposter syndrome too, and here are some of the reasons that solidified my belief:

  • Before signing my first book deal, I thought I deserved all the rejections I initially received from publishers who loved my manuscript but didn’t think I had enough of a platform. 
  • Yes, I had the knowledge, skill, and passion, yet I still didn’t think I was good enough to write.
  • I believed those who didn’t believe in me as a writer more than those who did
  • I thought I deserved it when my posts got very few likes, comments, or none. 
  • I was surprised every time my writings were praised. Surely that isn’t me they were applauding. 

In summary, I didn’t think or believe my writing was good enough to catch the eye of anyone- friend, family, stranger, agent, publisher, etc. 

If you can relate to any of these points, you may also be dealing with Imposter Syndrome. 

 Below are five mind-shifting tools that helped me overcome Imposter Syndrome:

1. Your writing won’t please everyone

 Accept the fact that your writing style is only for some people. Your words will appeal to some and not others, which is ok. When I got negative remarks from others on my writing, I no longer thought I deserved that negative remark. Instead, I accepted that it was ok and that the message was probably not meant for them. Someone not enjoying or relating to my writing doesn’t make me a bad writer, period. 

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt  

2. Work on your weakness 

The rule is to often focus on your strengths and amplify them. However, it was also crucial to identify the areas that I felt weakened that intensified the imposter syndrome. I strategically determined to gain practical knowledge in those areas of my weakness. In my case, it was actively building a platform. You may be dealing with a lack of inspiration to write, clustered ideas, not finding time to write, not knowing where to start, etc. There is a wealth of resources online- both free and paid options. We have no excuse not to work on our flaws and better our craft as writers. 

So that when we do put our work out there, and the Imposter Syndrome creeps up, we can confidently say- I did all I could. No doubt on whether we really could have done better.

“Be humble – not knowing something doesn’t make you a fraud, it makes you a student.” – Marie Forleo

3. People are reading silently

The number of likes, comments, etc., does not equal the impact of my writing. Many people sometimes randomly pass comments about some of my older pieces of writings.  I went back and looked, but there were no likes or comments. People are watching and reading. Whether they like or don’t like, comment or not, your writing is impacting lives. Don’t stop writing.

“Confidence is not, ‘they will like me.’ Confidence instead is, ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.'” — Christina Grimmie

4. Accept your style 

 Accept that we are writing exactly what God would have us write. We don’t have to write like anyone else because God made only one of us. Unique and perfect for the call He has placed on us.

I would like to quote a poem by my dear friend and fellow author, Aradhana Thakor

” I cried, Lord, show me my art

For I long to paint your Glory on the canvas of my heart

Child, search deep within your soul

There you’ll find your “art,” which is more precious than gold

Lord, an insatiable love for words is all I can find

Is this even “art,” or am I losing my mind?

Child, your words are like a soft blanket of warm sunshine on a weary soul.”

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” — Mark Twain

5. His words through you 

Ultimately, every word you’re pouring out is God pouring out a part of His vision to Humanity through you. When imposter syndrome questions you, point it back to the one who wrote those words through you. The God of the universe whom you represent here on earth.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure

Conclusion 

Next time imposter syndrome creeps up on you. I hope you fight back with these tools. When your work is praised, enjoy it. Know that you deserve it and give God all the Glory. On the contrary, when criticized, identify if you can improve on any critics. If not, your work was probably not their “piece of cake,” and that is ok.

Hannarich Asiedu is the author of the upcoming book “DECODING THE IN-LAW CODE.” She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and French and is certified in the Science of Wellbeing at Yale University. For more information on her book releases and other works, please visit her website on http://www.myhannarich.com