I recently was introduced to the sister of an acquaintance at my church. The acquaintance first introduced her sister to me, then turned to her sister and said “And this is Kelley. She’s a writer.”
Instantly, I felt both elated and humbled and even a bit terrified. It was my first introduction to a perfect stranger as what I want to be known as. But inwardly, I groaned a little. I knew the next question would be, “Oh, and what do you write?”
I myself am reluctant to identify myself in person as a writer to others. Often, it’s because I think of the times I have been teased for my writing by people.
“Oh, you write fluff then” is what I have heard from some. Others zone out as soon as they hear my main books right now are fantasy works without even hearing that I write a blog and history posts as well (though I haven’t done much history writing lately). As a result, I have been kind of guarding it, allowing anonymous people online to read what I have written, but getting antsy when tangible people who can speak to me face to face read my works. I feel like I am setting myself up for rejection. And it stings when that idea is reinforced by others’ actions.
I know I can write well. I have had people tell me that what I write is good. I have had teachers and professors tell me that what I have written is beautifully put together. I have been called a wordsmith and a wonder. I have been told my style of writing is both easy to read and challenging on vocabulary. I’ve been told my views are refreshing.
But I also have people who have told me, often time and time again, that this is a waste of time, especially when it garners almost nothing in results. I’ve been told I rip off other’s ideas when I write stories. I’ve been told I will never write the “great American novel” so why bother putting the time in? I have been told that my ideas amount to nothing and that I didn’t consider every facet before expressing my views…. the list goes on and on. And those are the comments I hear in my head even as I type this blog post out.
My other half will tell you that I spend a great deal of time every time I craft one of my Portals Series works or the stories that are current works in progress in frustration. I sit at the computer or with a pad of paper and a pen in my hand and just start crying or huffing in exasperation. I have been known to shut off the computer mid-writing session or angrily stuff my notebooks elsewhere and find something else to do. He will tell you that often it’s because I feel I am writing pure fluff, drivel, or words without meaning that I can’t seem to string together. What he can’t tell you is that I hear alot of the negative comments I have received in the past at those moments in my head. I internalize them. I listen to them instead of to the words that I want to write.
“This is stupid.” “I can’t write.” “This plot line is completely dumb.” “You aren’t talented at all.” “Why bother?” “No one will read this.”
As an author I follow on a few social media states:
The hardest part about being a writer is convincing yourself that you’re actually a writer and not an imposter with no idea what they’re doingAlexander Pennington
I am often left feeling like I have no idea what I am doing. I often feel as though I can’t write, even though I have three novels and eleven novellas to back up the fact that I CAN write and write at least semi-decently. But in the back of my mind, there’s always that little voice of doubt. And it doesn’t help when certain people in my circles ask questions like “well, why aren’t you famous yet?”
I got asked that last week by an old friend. Others have asked me that too.
Of course, part of me wants to also answer that question the way a music artist by the name of Monte Ray answers that question on Facebook. (Fair warning if you decide to watch the video, there is a bit of cursing.)
But then, I get messages from the friends and complete strangers who stumble upon any of my works and read them and enjoy them. I read the reviews some of them post. I enjoy the comments left on these blog posts. They uplift me. They make my heart sing. They remind me that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing.
To paraphrase Taylor Swift, the haters will continue to hate, but I just got to shake it off.
I will continue to press on. I will continue to write. I will continue to make the words up as I go along, writing my “silly stories” and my blog posts. Because, yes, I am a writer. I am a wordsmith. And I have a colossal lexicon at my disposal for utilization to make my stories and posts truly my own. After all, that’s part of the magic of this world, at least for me. So as I write my own story, I will continue to write the little stories that come to me as well.
It’s what I do.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory
6 thoughts on “Imposter Syndrome”
#writeyourownstory is the best advice…whether putting words on a page, or living your life. Your words won’t resonate with everyone…but isn’t that why there are so many different styles and genres? Each successful, but vastly different. A horror novel may fail terribly in an audience of romantics, but sits at #1 in their niche.
Take those negative voices, tell them “You aren’t my people”, and kick them to the curb! You are a wordsmith…and darned good at it. Those resonating on the same frequency as you see and know that simple truth.
I completely respect the “not resonating” idea. It’s the ones who point blank told me “I will never read anything you write because you write fantasy” even though I try to tell them I write this blog AND have written history articles and am working on a general fiction book that get me. It’s like, why dismiss a friend who is trying to tell you what she writes? Why not pass my info on to those who WILL read it? Argh. I’m neurotic at times… and overthink EVERYTHING. So the voices are heard. But they also make for great writing at times, since I can write them into stories. And thanks for telling me I am a good writer. It does help. You are too!
Argh, so frustrating!
Thank you! 😊
You ARE a writer, not an imposter! You have written (published), are writing, and will continue to write. You are not dreaming about being a writer! (Unlike some people I know. *ahem*) You are writing! There’s no faking it with you, Kelley!
Anyone who criticizes you for your pursuit of your dream, most likely does not dare to have a dream of their own. Honestly, you have been an inspiration to me to pull my dreams off the top shelf in the closet and dust them off.
Keep Swifty’s mantra going when the haters are hating. Shake it off, my Friend, shake it off!
I love you so much!!! Thanks Stef. It means a great deal coming from you. Maybe you’ll dust off your stuff too!!