The second step, which is vital in overcoming author imposter syndrome is to own your story, your life experiences. As I mentioned in previous podcasts a famous author Flannery O’Connor once said that “anybody who has survived childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days”. So, if you are an adult about to embark on an author’s journey, then you only need to look back on your childhood experiences or experiences you had yesterday, months or years ago that give you enough material to write.
The third step is to write. Write everyday, even a word or two. Just write. Grab yourself a journal and write. You’d be surprised how far you can go. It may not be great writing but just write. Another famous author’s quote I mentioned in my first podcast was from Margaret Atwood, and it’s worth repeating. She said this to a group of Cornell university English majors on April 1, 2011, “write everyday if you can, no matter how awful you think it is. Just keep doing it.”
The fourth step is even more critical. It helped me to break the author imposter syndrome. This step is to join a writer’s group. There are usually writing guilds in every local city. They usually have government funding from arts grants. They are free for writers and artists to join, if you are a resident of that city.
You can also join a number of online writing groups, there are many to choose from. These types of online writing groups can be beneficial by reading and sharing online activity, but I sometimes find it is not as personalized due to the vastness of members. Sometimes it becomes an exercise in counting the number of likes and comments. It’s much better to join a local writer’s group where you can learn and gain valuable resources from attending writing workshops, but also critiquing workshop sessions.
To be honest, I had many fears of participating in writer critique workshops. Alas the author imposter syndrome strikes again. I was afraid to share my writing, exposing it to others, because I had no confidence. I had tremendous doubt and fear. I didn’t believe my writing was worth a first, not even a second look. I refused to read my work at an open mic and didn’t want other authors to read my work either. So what did I do? I waited a couple of years before I took the plunge of sharing my work. Yes that was a waste of time. It’s like baking a pie and not letting anyone taste it. To find out if I defeated author imposter syndrome in that workshop, tune in to my upcoming video podcasts.
There are many reasons why a publisher or editor may reject your work. It could be your work doesn’t fit the genre they publish, or perhaps the timing of your manuscript doesn’t work with the subject matter they are focusing on for that publication run, or simply it isn’t a good fit. If you’re lucky for an editor to send correspondence to you directly offering advice, then you’re guaranteed it’s a validation of you as an author. Every time I receive personal correspondence from publication editors, I know it’s a validation for me as an author. In order to get to that point, you need to have the courage to send your work out. So don’t be afraid and just say to yourself I’m an author!