** This was written for a friend to share on his site
but I thought you all should get to see my brilliance too. Enjoy. **
Hi, my name is Ticia Rani, and I’m an imposter.
What is that, you say, and why am I calling myself names? I am so glad you asked. Well, everyone wants to stop and see the car wreck on the side of the street. I am that wreck, and I am going to tell you why. Run along and get a refill of your cuppa. Grab a nibble and tuck in for story time.
I am an imposter. Well, that’s how I feel most of the time. I have been a writer for years. I will not admit to how many because it will age me…a lot. But I didn’t start to take is seriously until around 2014. Over the years I had people mention from time to time that I was talented and should maybe kinda pursue words. Come on, it felt nice to hear I was good at something. Everyone wants to hear they are special. So, I thought, yeah, I can do this. I dove into that shimmering pool of words and ideas without looking to see how deep it was.
Imagine my shock when I slammed into an iceberg. Let’s look at the definition of the barrier I hit. There are a few but this is about one. I think the guy from the Titanic missed my warning signs. ‘Iceberg ahead!!’ **Sigh**
Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.
Thank you, Google, for your conciseness and word choices. I feel so called out right now. How does this pertain to moi? Well, I sat on my pedestal of compliments and wrote my first book, O-B*tch-uary. I loved every minute of it and have no regrets.
What people didn’t tell me was all the work that comes after. Things I had yet to learn. So, I dug in even further into learning about queries, agents, education, edits, and the marketing swirl of insanity all while plotting and starting book two, Sin Full. This is when I started to realize that all those people who patted me on the back and told me to chase my dreams, only wanted the free version of my work or wondered why I was still doing it. They weren’t interested if they had to buy a copy. God, forbid I ask them for help or input. My favorite line from someone who once supported me was, “I’ll see it when they make it into a movie.” Really? You were in line with everyone else to push me to pen a book you never intended to read? Wanna know what I said? Too bad. It is not proper language for a lady to scream loudly across a room.
Great, now I sit here questioning my own worth and skill in the arena I have dreamt of for years. I have two published novels out there and a third sitting in my computer taking up space. Why bother, right? This is where self-doubt lives. Where writer’s block is something that sits in your seat and prevents you from becoming motivated to do anything you should be doing. It’s the fun house mirror that only shows you the flaws and distortions of what you once thought to be perfect. Now what?
Good question. I wish there was a straightforward, follow this list of instructions to fix it all, answer. All I can say is, keep trying. We all have moments when we doubt our own abilities. Even professionals’ flounder. We all have a lil dark cloud tucked away in our closet that pops out when we least expect it and pours a tsunami of doubt on us. These are the storms we can’t plan for but can survive if we take the steps needed.
First, the umbrella. It’s that plan you need to put in place now, like right now. If you aren’t currently suffering from imposter syndrome, great, but there may come a time when you will, and you will need a plan. Step one of this plan is to decide how long you will allow yourself to wallow before you declare it a storm front. A day? Three? A week? 372 days? You need a timeframe to work from. Once you know how long you are allowing yourself to build a blanket fort in bed and hide out with your favorite ice cream, you will know when to move to step two. But don’t take too long. Remember, the longer you are stuck in quicksand the likelihood of you coming out is slim to none.
Step two, talk to someone who understands. Therapy? If that’s your thing, go for it, but if not, reach out to someone who understands what you are going through. I suggest another writer or a few. You can find groups online and in person. Commiserate on the woes of being a word wrangler and then work on supporting one another. Ask the important question, like, how can I help you? Yeah, that’s a big one. Ask if you can be accountable to them and them to you? I am blessed to have weekly online meetings with people who get it. They understand the swirl of doubt and creativity battling it out in my head. We all get a chance to lay out our issues and we, collectively, help each other work through them. Group therapy without the co-pay. Talk about options with your accountability partner(s). Make an appointment to meet/talk/Zoom on this date, at that time, to talk about the work you sent each other. This gives you a deadline to meet. Think of it like dieting. It is so much easier to be successful on a diet if you are working with a partner.
Step three, work. Sit, wherever you want, and start to put words down. Talking with your partner(s) about writing can get the juices flowing again. It stimulates the imagination and shakes your characters awake. It is time to create a habit. Not a bad habit, a good one that tells your brain it is time to write the words. Me, I come into my office at 7:30 am with a cuppa coffee, a bottle of water, two chiweenies, and a nibble. So? This prevents me from getting up to ‘go grab a drink.’ Jumping up and down for random reasons breaks concentration. I turn off the overhead light and turn on a softer lamp. I am all about the ambiance. I wake my computer and log on to Rainymoods.com. Heaven. I love the sound of a good rainstorm. No lyrics to throw me off my game. This is my habit. These are my steps to tell my brain it is time to capture some words.
Step four, this is the step where we learn to push through doubt. Understand doubt is something we all go through. Stand up to your doubts and disprove them to yourself. Show yourself that you do have the chops to follow your dreams and be successful at them. You also need to become strong enough to write for you. I learned a long time ago that I don’t appeal to everyone. Shocking, I know. But I write anyway. I write because it matters to me. If I like my stories, then chances are someone else will too. To remind myself of that, I like to login to my sales reports and see that I have, in fact, sold the books I wrote. I then login to the local library system and check for my books availability. I smile when I see they are checked out. See? I don’t suck as much as I thought.
Imposter syndrome is a real thing. Once you understand what it is, you can begin to find your way out. I’m working on it. Doing some research on the topic helped. Each step is a step closer to a new beginning. The big question someone asked just last night was if they find their way out of the dark will it come back? The answer is…yes. Because we are human. As writer’s we see things a bit differently. We absorb the world around us to create the stories we write. Doubt is tucked in dank little corners just waiting for the chance to light up that lil storm cloud all over again. Your plan is your protection against the storm. It’s the umbrella, raincoat, and galoshes to keep you dry when that dark cloud hovers overhead. Protect yourself, and your characters, and keep writing.
We can do this. Together. Find a partner and support one another. We are not in competition with each other. We all have different stories to tell. Think about how many different vampire stories there are. Some are amazing and some…not so much. The thing is, they are different. Don’t let your doubts hold you back. Let me help you. Let your writer friends help you. We are here and we are ready.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent
Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o