Guest post by Michelle Fewer
Imposter Syndrome Can Suck It (eventually)
“For the first time since jumping into the editing and proofreading waters, I’m sitting down to edit a book for an author and there is not a doubt in my mind that I know what I’m doing.”
Wow, I am really looking forward to the day I can say that and have it stick. I thought that time was going to be when I saw my first official editing credit in a book. Instead, it was freaking terrifying. What if someone finds an error? Or more than one? Or they don’t like the book? How would that reflect on me? But even more importantly, how would that reflect on my author?
Imposter Syndrome (let’s just call it IS for now) is a beast! And it’s so freaking real. You know you’re good at something. People compliment you all the time on your ability to do something really well. But you don’t ever quite believe it. You’re afraid to own it. You feel like an imposter, just waiting for someone to tear back the curtain and reveal you for the hack your self-conscious conscious keeps whispering about in the back of your brain.
What if the people singing your praises are just doing that to be nice?
What if they’re wrong about your abilities?
But, hey, what if they’re right?
Is getting over IS just a matter of mindset?
I’m not sure about any of those answers. Yet.
It’s interesting, once I put myself out there as an editor and proofreader I had a few bookish friends reach out to me about their fear of publishing a book they’ve been writing. Seems they’re also struggling with the dreaded IS. Their concerns mirror mine: What if I’m not a good writer? What if nobody likes my book? What if I get bad reviews? And to be honest, I love taking the time to walk and talk them through their fears. And I love it even more when they tell me I’ve given them the courage and encouragement they need to take the author plunge.
But, man, it’s way harder to hear those words of encouragement and confidence when it’s yourself you’re trying to convince. We are our own worst critics. We really are.
Lately I’ve been focusing on positive mantras my friend Rhon has been posting on social media. They’re all intended to help people move forward toward their best lives with self-affirmation techniques and language. She claims she creates the posts for herself, but I love being along for the ride. Having language that is positive and encouraging right there to read is pretty powerful. And I have a harder time disowning and disregarding it because it’s someone else’s words. Again, something I need to work on, I know. But it’s a step forward.
So now the question becomes, how does someone move forward to leave IS behind and really OWN their talents, abilities, and successes? I’m not even asking for a friend. Because I need to know this. Is it even possible to completely eliminate IS from our lives? Or is a little IS actually a good thing? A way to stay humble? A way to accept that there’s no such thing as perfection? I’m not sure about that. But I do know I am really looking forward to the day when I feel completely comfortable in all of my endeavors. Maybe turning 50 this week will take me a step closer to that. I’ll let you know.
So, tell me, do you struggle with Imposter Syndrome? And if you do, what do you need to really move past it? Have you overcome your Imposter Syndrome? How did you do that? Share please! Let’s help each other on this journey.
3/24/2022 10:27:36 am
Thanks for sharing your inner thoughts about all of us being vulnerable to IS. Even though I have been published more than thirty times since 2007, I still struggle with claiming the title, author, writer. I still wonder whether I am worthy to wear that label. I get a grip when I see my name in print. We need those words of encouragement!
3/24/2022 01:37:57 pm
Thank you so much, Eileen. It is a struggle, and I'm so glad I'm not alone in it :-) I absolutely love that seeing your name in print grounds you and convinces you that you're doing what you should be.
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Arielle Haughee is the owner and founder of Orange Blossom Publishing.