Writer + Photographer

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome in Writing

After I began querying with my updated letter a couple months ago, I was so excited. I felt like I had a new lease on this journey.

…which makes the rejections I’ve been getting recently all the tougher.

Not only have I gotten a handful of rejections back from those agents, I also just did my first Twitter pitching event and ended up with no takers—another kick to the gut.

(Ps. The writing community truly boosted me during the entire pitch day though, so I was—and am always—extremely grateful to be a part of it.) ❤

All that said, for today’s post, I wanted to chat about impostor syndrome. Fitting, right? I’ve had this particular topic on my list of potential posts for a while now, and I thought it would go well with my current state of discouragement.

Alright, done pitying myself.

From Wikipedia, “Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud.’ Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved.”

I spent so long writing stories that were just for me. The main character? Me. The supporting cast? My best friends. The love interest? My crush at the time. Even when the stories turned into less of my actual life, I still wrote them for me.

I spent nights upon nights putting pen to paper (literally) simply because I loved it. I loved escaping into worlds I made but was far too scared to let others come with me. I’ve explained it before, but when I first showed my manuscript to my friend in high school, I was frantically looking around to make sure no one saw. I was panicking on the inside, worried that he was talking too loud, worried that someone would find out (god forbid) that I wrote for fun.

That fear was ingrained in me. Probably because everything you do in high school is embarrassing. But also probably because up until that point, all my writing had been so tied to my real life.

Even in college, I was embarrassed that I wrote YA. In creative writing programs, they instill in you (whether on purpose or not) that literary fiction is the end-all be-all.

But here’s the thing: no one ever specifically told me that. No one ever said, “YA is stupid. Why do you write that?” I just assumed I had to be embarrassed because my story was about love and aliens (in that order).

I didn’t think I fit into the category that my peers did simply because I wanted to pursue genre YA.

Once I graduated, that all changed.

Maybe it was the few agents who did express interest in my story. Maybe it was the community I gained here. Maybe it was me finally growing up and realizing it was okay (and a great feeling) to share my passion with the world.

Everyone gets imposter syndrome. Writers probably more than others. But at some point, you just have to take the leap.

When I explain my book to people in real life, I still get embarrassed sometimes. But most of the time, I freaking own it. I believe in my story. Someday, a publisher will too.

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