The Dreaded Curse of Imposter Syndrome

Ace has zero shame. Most of us could learn from him.

Imposter syndrome: that crippling fear that you’re not really that good, that you don’t deserve your success, that the world will realize that you’re not the real deal and run you out of town.

Growing up as a woman in the South in the 70’s and 80’s, I was taught that it wasn’t ladylike to discuss my accomplishments being good at something. It was boasting, and I didn’t deserve my success unless its recognition came from other people. I still can’t talk about my books without feeling like I should apologize and then go hide under a rock.

On top of that is an underlying stigma about being a self-published author. There are still schools of thought that believe that being self-published means you’re not good enough for a traditional publisher, but that’s not true. There are some really incredible self-published authors out there. The reality, especially now, is that the traditional publishing world is incredibly hard to break into, whether you believe it comes from publisher and agent burnout or too many authors and not enough agents or publishers (I’ve seen arguments for both sides of that particular coin). No, not every self-published book is gold, especially without the assistance of a professional editing and proofreading team, but you can find those services if you do your research.

Are my books perfect? Absolutely not. But enough people who are honest with me have given me constructive feedback followed with “I really liked it” to let me know that I have a good product and could actually go somewhere with this. I wish I could make the gut-wrenching anxiety stop so I could enjoy my journey, but it’s hard. So what can I do to help myself? Well, I can keep working on the journey– social media, newsletters, plugging my product, working on the sequel, trying to get reviews (holy cow that is ridiculously hard to do without paying a fortune!), and writing every day. I also started writing positive affirmations. This is huge to keep my mindset where it needs to be.

But most of all, I need to remember one very important fact. If my audience believes in me, then they can’t all be wrong, right? I need to have faith in the faith that they have in me, and I need to realize that I am doing exactly what I love. And you know what? I’m pretty damn good at it, and I will be a successful writer.

So take that, mind!