Impostor Syndrome (again?)

I didn’t write yesterday

I didn’t write yesterday because I didn’t have a lot to say and I had a lot to do. I broke my 80-day writing streak, but it turned out I didn’t feel that bad about it.

The real reason I didn’t write

I’m suffering from a serious case of impostor syndrome. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong in writing, editing, and promoting my books. Ironically, I think this is happening because of a group of other writers that I’m hanging out with on the Internet.

Photo by Monstera on

They seem so motivated. They write 10 books in a year, they post regularly on Tik Tok. They participate in anthologies. They know which genres they fit into easily. I can’t keep up with them; I’m still trying to figure things out despite having written seven books.

I don’t want to be like them — I want to be like me, but I wonder if that’s good enough.

Impostor syndrome

Impostor syndrome is that feeling that, if someone knew who I really was, they would decide I was a fraud.

I hear that impostor syndrome is entirely too common. Ubiquitous, even. That everyone has the same dialogue in their head that says that they’re not good enough. That everyone who looks like they’ve got it all together feels the same way.

I don’t know the cure for impostor syndrome. I don’t know that anyone does, or else we wouldn’t be suffering it. I think even my fellow writers with all their enthusiasm feel it.

I may just have to live with it and do all the things anyhow.

A Mess of Impostor Syndrome

Negative self-talk all day

Part of the reason I think I’m getting depressed is because I have non-stop negative self-talk in my head: I don’t know why I think I can get traditionally published. My writing isn’t good enough because it’s not like other people’s. I have the wrong kind of book covers. I like the wrong kind of book covers. I’m awful at marketing. I don’t have sex or nudity or grittiness in my romances. The dialog never ends.

The best I can do

It’s hard staying positive with a barrage like this. The best I can do is keep my head above water with cognitive therapy — “You don’t know this, you can’t predict the future, that’s black and white thinking, don’t call yourself names.” And I believe in cognitive-based therapy.

Cognitive-based therapy, at least in the version I use, utilizes picking out cognitive distortions (“I’m not a good writer”) and assigns to it one or more cognitive distortion labels (such as black-and-white thinking) and asks the person to write contradictions for their statements. This really does work, but when getting a barrage, it’s hard to eradicate all of the negative. This is why I wonder if I’m going into depression, because usually these are not so constant.


What do you do when you have the blues? Drop me a line in the comments.

The Conference

Sorry I haven’t written for a couple of days, but I’ve been busy busy at the conference. It’s been a very positive experience, and here are some of the things I’ve learned:

  • A lot of the people here write science fiction and fantasy. And the stories are all very different from each other.
  • Character may be more important than plot in hooking an agent in.
  • My work is good — I was told by one editor that my work was “going places.” I hope so.
  • The same editor told me I need to back off on the novels (high effort) and start writing some short stories to submit to journals. I have 5-6 novels, none sold yet. He is probably right.
  • The same editor teased me about my character padding her calves to look like a man, saying that several females he knew had more muscular calves than he did. Well, shit.
  • Comp titles (“Twilight meets Hunger Games”) really exist for a reason.
  • I made a friend who’s about my age who introduced me to Broad Universe, a writing space for women (love the pun) and might get me into a critique group if there’s a space. 
  • I made another friend in Kansas City (about my age) who writes stuff with similar worldview quirk (turning mythologies on their head).  
  • I need to put the fact that I was a runner-up in Cook Publishing’s Short Story contest in my query letter.
  • I need a business plan
  • I need a marketing plan (this blog is part of it)
  • I need to quit using so many dashes — and ellipses …
  •  The conference has coffee service ALL DAY.

That’s probably not everything, but the experience has been affirming and I’m a little giddy thinking about it. I’m sure the impostor syndrome will take hold tomorrow, but for now, I feel like a writer.