“Impostors Syndrome” seems to be a hot topic at the moment, and it refers to the feelings of inadequacy that people sometimes get in life and at work. For example, if you’re promoted at work but you don’t feel as though you’re qualified, you might start to second guess yourself and wonder if you really deserve to have the authority you’ve been given.
When I’ve seen it written about online, it’s mostly been used to talk about women, partly because of a lot of the inherent sexism that’s a part of society. There are a lot of women who have proved their worth and climbed up the ranks in the workplace because of their ability to do their job, but who still remember when they were younger and were told that “science isn’t for girls” or “women can’t be CEOs”.
But there’s also a lot of impostors syndrome amongst writers and other creatives, especially those like myself who are indie, self-published authors and who haven’t necessarily received the publishing industry backing of mainstream authors. It’s a natural thing to think about, especially when you’re having a bad day or you get a bad review. That kind of negative thinking can eat away at you.
But I think that impostors syndrome is just as much of a problem for mainstream authors and creatives. Unless you have a massive ego and automatically believe that you deserve the world, it’s only natural to feel doubt whenever you experience either a failure or a success.
Creative people are always under pressure to keep creating, and at the same time it’s easy to downplay how much time, effort and expertise goes into something. I know that I still find it awkward to talk about my books in a social situation, and I’ve been writing for half of my life. It’s also true that every time I see a review of one of my books on YouTube or in a Google Alert, I start to panic because I don’t know if it’s going to be bad or good. I should have more confidence in myself, but I don’t.
So I think that everyone has some form of impostors syndrome. My goal has always been to be the “best” writer in the world (because why not aim for the stars?), but even if I made it by any metric, I’d still doubt myself. I’m only human. And I’m sure that people like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling feel the same sometimes. They’re also only human.
Perhaps I’m wrong, I don’t know. But it seems to me as though impostor syndrome isn’t really a syndrome because we all have it. That’s not to belittle it in any way, because I know myself how it can affect confidence and hold you back from achieving your full potential. I just think it’s something that all of us suffer from, to at least some extent.
So now I want to hear from you. Have you ever suffered from impostor syndrome? And what do you think about what I covered in this blog post? Let me know what you think with a comment.