The Imposter Syndrome Is Only You

Random thought of the day: Everyone loves a writer, but not an author.

Hold that thought, I’ll come back to this.

Maybe it’s NaNoWriMo in the air, but I’ve heard a few writers recently mention feeling like a fake. Because of their process.

And while I totally get it, I’d like to clear the air here for the general writing community:

No one thinks you’re a fake writer.

In fact, no one cares how much of a writer you are.

This is where the distinction between writer and author comes in. A published writer (“author”) is asked about their process, assumed to have “made it”*.

I am writing this from an ideal place of being a long-term writer who is not yet an author but hangs out in communities with some Real Authors.**

Another thing: writers love to talk about their process. We like to read about Authors and how they do it, and we can learn from fellow writers some tools sometimes.

Do you know what other writers are thinking about when we hear you talk about your process? Our own. Which is why, yeah, sometimes I judge you for a second because M&M bribes are probably bad for your liver, but then? We go back to worrying about our own crap.

What does this have to do with Imposter Syndrome?

Yes. It’s real. And helping you work through it is actually something the coach side of me wants to do. But the writer side?

Just wants to tell you, no one actually thinks you’re not a writer. The fact that most of the uninitiated then equate writer to Author is not your problem. The fact that they want to tell you about their niece who also wrote a book at 14 is not at all about you.

Now, once you’re an author? A different story. Then you’re a performer being judged upon.

Everyone likes a writer, because they want to relate to that. No one likes an author because then there’s a commercial aspect of it that seems threatening.

Neither thing has anything to do with you.

Carry on and do your thing. (And yeah, sort out where your Imposter Syndrome comes from. Maybe with my help.)

*This is errant nonsense. Some writers have it figured out before becoming authors, most authors are in progress a lot longer, if not for their whole lives.

**Again, the only real distinction is having sold a novel. And while this is momentous for the emotional life of a writer, it is not actually the terminus at which you have ARRIVED.