How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome is THE WORST problem that we face as writers. It makes us want not to publish our books, it makes us think that we are sh*t and it WRECKS our mental health.
Belive me, I’ve been there enough myself.
That’s why I wrote this blog post about the writer’s mental health if you want to take a look.
What is imposter syndrome? What to do when you’re having a bad imposter syndrome day?
Imposter syndrome, in my own words, is when you feel like you don’t deserve what you’re getting or doing. You feel like a fraud.
If you’re writing a book, self-doubt is always there, whispering in your ear: you are not a writer… what are you doing? Why are you wasting your time? You’ll never be a real writer.
If you have published your book and sold only a few copies, then there you go: you call yourself a writer? You are not.
You are having a lot of success, but then again, your conscious is there: you are not good enough. You don’t deserve this success. I’m sorry for you if you think you’re doing good. You’re a fraud and people will find it out soon. You are no writer.
I also suffer from this, my friends.
Sometimes I stop and think: why am I writing this blog? Am I good enough to write an article about writing? I barely know what I’m doing!
Or when I look at my Twitter description: Author.
All right, I have published a book. However, am I a real author? What makes you an author? I haven’t made it to NY Times Best Seller. After that, will I be a writer?
Self-doubt is everywhere, always.
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome?
This is the real question and it’s only answered by my life motto. I literally use it ALL THE TIME:
Fake till you make it.
A friend of mine said that she hates this phrase because it seems like she is lying to herself.
However, I’ll convince you right now that there’s no such a thing.
BECAUSE: your vision of yourself is distorted.
It’s distorted by your anxiety, your fears.
Nobody notices us as much as ourselves. Nobody knows us as much. We live in our bodies literally all the time. We see every little fault. Every. Little. Mistake. Our expectations are so high. Our “perfect” imaginary standard is incredibly distorted.
Nobody cares about our mistakes as much as we do.
People will buy what you sell them.
Am I telling you to lie to other people?
I’m telling you to behave as you wish you were seen. When you do, you’ll be seen in this way.
“But I’m not like this.”
You can’t tell that, because this doesn’t exist.
You own image of yourself is not what the world is seeing.
The majority of people is too focused on themselves. And this is not wrong at all. It’s just that it’s impossible to notice other people as much as we notice ourselves. Think about your life. Do you keep looking for every little small detailed that other people do? I hope not, because this is kind of what a stalker would do.
By that I mean: other people will see you the way you present yourself to them.
This is not lying.
These standards don’t exist for real. They exist only inside our heads.
There is not the Global Chart of What Makes an Author. Point One: An author shall be those who only self-publish because traditionally publishing steals your soul. Point Two: An Author will be when He or She sells over 343 copies of their book.
It. Doesn’t. Exist.
The majority of the standards we think that “the society thinks” it’s actually ourselves thinking.
How can you say what “society” thinks? What is this society? How do you know the opinion of every one of the million people from society?
This goes to all the standards in life. “I’m too fat, nobody will like me”, and then you find someone that weights your triple and finds themselves beautiful.
It’s our own perfectionism patterns that create these standards
You and only you are deciding if you are “an author” or not.
You and only you are deciding that you’re a fraud.
It’s not “everybody”. It’s not “society”. Because it doesn’t exist. This society/everybody is a character you created to rule your mind. And it is being really mean to you.
Get rid of their dictatorship.
If you created this standard for you, you can destroy it too.
Even if you have to get help from a therapist.
I know I have.
Be happy with what you accomplish, it doesn’t matter how small it feels.
It, at least, is real. Your perfectionism standard is not. Why do you believe in something you imagined instead of the concrete step you took?
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome: Fake till you make it
I hope I have convinced you that this is not lying because people don’t know you. And the image you have from yourself is not actually true. It’s not the way “you are”. This is so relative. Everyone will see you in a different way. So, it’s basically IMPOSSIBLE to define “what you are”.
This makes you free to be whatever you want.
You’ll not be lying. You’ll not say “I’m a published author and I have sold 1000 copies” just because that’s what you want.
You’ll say whatever fact is true in a confident way.
I’m an author.
(Self-doubt: you haven’t published anything yet), now you’ll kill this self-doubt by saying: I write, therefore, I’m an author. This what my own standard to be an author is, therefore, I am.
The way you present yourself is CRUCIAL.
Just IMAGINE if Disney said something like this:
Yeah, we are a travel destination. We aren’t that good, you know. Our most scary ride is Space Mountain. Everything here is for kids, and a bit expensive, maybe. The queues are gigantic. Maybe… yeah, maybe you should choose Universal Studios instead. They have real rollercoasters.
JUST. IMAGINE. THAT.
You would NEVER go to Disney.
However, they basically ignore the people that are not a good match for them and focus on their target guests. They present themselves as the best most magical travel destination there is. They don’t mention the queues. They don’t mention the prices. And they are not lying, because, to me, they really are the most magical place on Earth. I don’t care about queues or prices; I care about the good sides that they presented.
If a company would NEVER do that with their image,
WHY DO YOU DO IT TO YOURSELF?
When you’re a writer, you must SELL your books. A book is a product.
I say this so often that I should probably get a tattoo with it written.
It doesn’t matter if you’re traditionally published or self-published. You’ll have to market it and convince your reader that your book is good enough that it’s worth buying it.
Why on Earth would you say something like this:
Yeah, I’m self-published, so… I don’t know if I’m a real author… my book is okay, I guess. I haven’t sold much, though.
You’ll never do it again, promise me.
If you want, you can tell this to your therapist. Not to yourself nor the others. Because it’s not true.
How to beat Imposter Syndrome then?
- Understand that this fraud thing is an imaginary perfectionism standard that you created. It’s not “real” because such a thing doesn’t exist. Everybody sees you in a different way.
- Fake till you make. This is not lying. This is presenting yourself right. Nobody knows all your faults as you do. Many of your “failures” are actually inventions coming from your imaginary perfect standard.
- Sell your best version of yourself. Don’t highlight your errors. Show the version you want to be. Again, this is not lying because it can totally be what you are for that person. Nobody has time to know you entirely. They will only know what you show.
- Go to therapy.
I mean this number 4. If you are really feeling that bad about being an author, you must get it treated. It will help you so much! Therapy is not only for crazy people! I NEED IT, everybody needs it!
You can do it.
You only are an imposter if you, yourself, invented this perfect standard. Remember, “society” or, “everybody thinks like that” is NOT true. This is also yourself. I can think absolutely different from you and you’ll never know because you can’t possibly know what EVERYBODY thinks!
I hope it helped!