Hello there, my fellow writers.
Today is Wednesday, which means it’s time for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. In case you’re new, I’m one of many writers who write for the IWSG the first Wednesday of each month. Our goal is to encourage fellow writers with our stories about our own writing journey. Or we answer an optional question the group provides in their newsletter. If you want to know more about the IWSG, click on the link to learn more and to sign up.
Before getting this month’s letter, I struggled with coming up with a topic to write about. Actually, I struggled with writing altogether. The past few weeks, I stated that I was going to write out some scenes and see if any of them were worth building a story on. Two weeks I posted my goal on social media. I failed to deliver. So one day, I tweeted about it using the StoryDam hashtag; went into great detail about my failure. One of the members responded. To sum it up, the member attributed my lack of writing to a phenomenon known as “Impostor Syndrome.”
At first, I thought it was simple Writer’s Block (as if that’s simple). But the more I thought about it and the more I read replies to my tweets, I thought there might be something to it. So I did some research on the subject and what it entails. Here’s what I discovered.
According to Wikipedia, “Impostor Syndrome” is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and internalize their fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud.’ It’s also known as “impostor phenomenon,” or “fraud syndrome.” While not categorized as a mental disorder, it has damaging symptoms. Thoughts associated with Impostor Syndrome are, “I must not fail,” or, “I feel like a fraud.” Symptoms also include depression stress, and anxiety. There are also several actions and feelings associated with this experience. The biggest among most writers is comparing self to others. Also, there is a fear of failure or success. We deny our abilities and discount praise.
As I read this article and how I view myself as a writer, I realized I’m guilty of all these things. I compare myself to other writers. I have those thoughts of feeling like a failure for various reasons. I feel like I’m not a true writer because of what I write. I don’t accept positive comments from my peers; I look for the “but” instead. And not just within these past few weeks, but throughout my writing journey. I had bouts of fighting Impostor Syndrome and never realized it until now.
However, as I continued to research, I found ways to overcome it. As with any recovery program, the first step is to acknowledge it. I had to say this is a real thing and I have it. Once that’s done, I read different tactics to use; all designed to change your way of thinking.
- Realize you’re not perfect.
- Take note of your achievements.
- Remember you’re not alone.
- Use assertive language.
- Talk to peers/friends about your struggles.
- Find a mentor.
I’m in the process of overcoming my experience. I’m attending therapy sessions where I’m working on changing my way of thinking; to not seek the negative upon hearing a suggestion to be better. On a StoryDam chat last week, members talked about their struggles. It gave me comfort knowing I’m not alone. I’m creating a habit to use assertive language. And ultimately, I’m being proactive by writing; not out of obligation to meet a quota, but out of a desire to be creative and express myself.
Impostor Syndrome is a real thing. It’s something many of us fight at some point. I know I am. What’s encouraging me to keep going is remembering I’m not alone and that I have accomplishments to share. And this is why I signed up for the IWSG. It’s why I created this blog. I have something to share with fellow writers. Whether it’s something I learned or a story I wrote, I believe in the power of my words.
What about you? Do you struggle with Impostor Syndrome? How do you overcome it?
Let me know in the comments. We can spur each other on and overcome it together.
Until next time, keep fighting.