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Imposter Syndrome? Here's how to deal with it

December 1, 2022
4 min read time

I’ve been writing for over a decade and I still think I suck. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time. Sometimes I fear that people will catch on that I'm not good at this writing thing, and all of my dreams will be shattered. And when I think I suck the most, I don’t write. I stay suck. I mean, stuck. And then I beat myself up for not writing, and then the cycle continues. Does this sound familiar?

If so, you’re not alone. Most writers struggle with this feeling of imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills or talents and has a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty much a part of the creative process, but sometimes it can be so difficult to deal with that it paralyzes us from writing. We suffer from writer’s block or self-sabotage our efforts due to perfectionism or sometimes we might even consider packing it in and leaving the writing dream to be a pet groomer.

The good news is that dealing with imposter syndrome is possible. Below are some tips on how to deal with it so you can continue writing your project and embrace the talented writer that you are.

Name what you’re feeling

It sounds counterintuitive but naming and claiming what you’re feeling actually diffuses it. So if you’re feeling like an imposter, acknowledge it! And then remind yourself that you feel this way because it’s a condition called imposter syndrome that many people also deal with. Meaning there’s nothing wrong with you. Knowing that other writers – even successful ones – also suffer from imposter syndrome will help you feel less alone and will also help you feel less shame about it.

Remember that it’s just a feeling

Own what you’re feeling and then remember – it’s only a feeling. It’s not the actual truth. Feelings aren’t facts, including the bad feelings you feel. There are times when you will feel like you suck and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you do. Feelings pass, and so will this one.

Dig deeper into what is holding you back

At the root of imposter syndrome is a limiting belief about ourselves that is keeping us stuck. It can take some digging into what might be yours but it’s worth the time to get honest with yourself. For example, my limiting belief isn’t just that I suck; it’s that my stories aren't worth sharing to the world. I fear I will be judged and that I’m just not an interesting writer. So my limiting belief is that I am not worthy of being heard. You might have a couple of limiting beliefs but the more specific you are, the more successful you will be at changing them. 

Have a list of positive affirmations

Once you know what your limiting belief is, it’s important to flood your mind with positive affirmations that will help combat the negative thoughts. Positive affirmations are far more effective when they’re connected to what you – or your subconscious mind – actually fear. For example, my positive affirmation is: I am worthy of being heard; my writing brings value to the world. Keep a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you and keep them handy next to your desk or wherever you write.

Take action and write

It’s really easy to tell yourself that you won’t write on the days when you feel like an imposter, but that’s exactly what your silly mind wants you to do. So do the opposite and write! Action beats critical thoughts every time. Even if you initially write only a page, you’re retraining your monkey brain to know who’s boss. If you have to tell yourself that there’s a good chance you’ll have to delete what you write, that’s fine. Just remind yourself you’re going to write your best today (whatever that might look like) and that it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s the old “fake it until you make it trick.” By taking action continuously even when your mind is shaming you, you will eventually quiet it and that’s the whole point.

Reward yourself

The reward system works. It helps you get out of your own way while also helps you to seek validation from yourself – and not from the outside world. Reward yourself whenever you hit a particular milestone with whatever feels good to you and your writing – maybe treating yourself to a new drink at your favorite coffeehouse, or going for a nice walk. Keep track of your accomplishments as a visual reminder that you can do this writing thing, and your imposter syndrome can’t stop you from completing your project.  


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