DIGITAL & DOWNLOAD

INSTANT ACCESS

Recognizing Imposter Syndrome

This is part one of a three part Mindset mini-series focusing on imposter syndrome. You may or may not have heard of it, you may or may not have experienced it, but it’s said to affect seven out of ten people. 

Defining

It’s a term first coined by psychologists in 1978, and it refers to feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and the worry that someone will accuse you of being a fraud. 

Frequently, people have trouble taking credit for their achievements and put their success down to luck. Or they find it difficult to accept compliments and believe that anybody else could have done the same or better.   

It’s really common to experience feelings of inadequacy when embarking on something new—like writing a book or starting a new story. 

“Writing is always full of self-doubt, but by the time I wrote my second book, I was familiar with that feeling of doubt and self-loathing, so I just thought, ‘Okay, this is how it feels to write a book.’”—Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough

A lot of the advice out there suggests it’s possible to overcome imposter syndrome the same way you might get over a broken leg. Although imposter syndrome isn’t a medically classifiable disorder, matters of the mind are rarely that simple. Accepting that it’s part of who you are and developing coping strategies to quieten moments of self-doubt is a far better long-term plan.

Personifying

Personifying your imposter syndrome is one way to help keep you moving forward. Give it a name like Harold, Blippy, Snowball—call it whatever you like, give it a shape like a squishy kid’s toy, anything that will help you diminish its power over you. When it speaks to you, acknowledge it and say “thanks very much for your help,” and then carry on writing.

If that sounds too ridiculous, then ask yourself this: “What would another author do?” You could go deeper and insert your favourite author’s name to make it more specific, “What would Maya Angelou do?” Would she cave in to self-doubt, or would she carry on writing? And if she can do it, why not you?

Angela Archer

Angela Archer

Having worked as a mental health nurse for many years, Angela combines her love of words with her love of human psychology to work as a copywriter in the UK. She independently published a novella and novel in 2020 and is currently fending off the lure of shiny new novel ideas to complete the second book in her sci-fi series. When she’s not tinkering with words, she’s usually drinking tea, playing the saxophone (badly), or being mum and wife to her husband and two boys.

Start or Join a Conversation About This Article:

When Writing Means Business, Storytellers Read Indie Author Magazine

Read Indie Annie's Latest Advice:

Dear Indie Annie,

I’ve only ever written in one particular genre. I have an audience built there, a decent backlist, and a few ideas for future books. But I just recently got an idea for a story in an entirely different genre—one that I don’t even know I’ll continue past this book. Do I write the new idea or stick with what I know?  Pestered by a Plot Bunny Dearest Plot Bunny, The temptation of an off-brand manuscript

Read More »

Dear Indie Annie: Seeking More Sales

My biggest obstacle in my career is profitability. I have a full series of eight books, with great read-through. I do everything I’m supposed to do to advertise them: Facebook Ads, freebies, group promos, daily posts on social media. But I’m still not earning much. How do I make money in this business? Seeking More Sales (Aren’t We All?) Dearest Seeking Sales, Oh, my little crumpet, this profit pickle has so many of us in

Read More »

Indie Annie – Multinational Merchant

Dear Indie Annie, I really want to sell signed books, but I’m worried about shipping. The majority of my readers are in the US, but I am not. Would readers really be willing to pay extra shipping for signed books or special editions? Multinational Merchant Dear Multi, Do you mind, my sweet, if I shorten your name? My darling, no need to get your knickers in a twist over shipping signed books abroad. You may

Read More »

Follow Us

Weekly Tutorial

Sign up for our Newsletter

We’ll send you our best articles, special offers, and industry updates

Would You Like a Free Issue?

Hello! I’m Indie Annie, and I would love to send you a copy of this month’s issue of Indie Author Magazine. Just join our email list and I’ll drop it in your inbox!