It’s been a minute since I wrote a blog here. I have many reasons. Family health issues, super-sized stresses at the day job, a case of the winter wearies… But none of that matters, because I’m here! Back and ready to bring happiness to everyone’s life by talking about Impostor Syndrome!
The past year has brought a lot of really awesome things into my life. Each time something new pops up, I’m elated, ready to share exciting news with friends and family, pinching myself to make sure it’s real. Just this past week, I got word that THE GIRL BEFORE got a brief mention in the Wall Street Journal. The freaking WALL STREET JOURNAL, you guys.
I got a message today from a friend who teaches at the school I used to work at. She said that she went to a local independent bookstore to preorder my book and when the owner looked it up, she got very excited about whatever her top secret bookseller site said about my book and wants to connect with me about doing an event there. It was all very very positive.
I’m into the revisions portion for Book 2, tentatively titled THE GAME. I’ve had some pretty positive feedback along with really helpful critiques that I think will help it become even better before I turn it in to my editor, which I’m hoping to do ahead of deadline.
Every time something amazing happens, there’s a small voice that starts up. Whispers of doubt dance behind every smile, every thank you. “You’re a fraud.” “They’re just being nice.” “None of this will last.” And on and on and on. It’s pretty annoying, actually.
Not to sound like a school essay, but Wikipedia (the premier site for accurate research) says the term “Impostor Syndrome” refers to “high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internal high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as ‘fraud.’ Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”
Sound familiar to anyone else?
I’m still trying hard to find that balance between being proud of my accomplishments but not to the point of bragging. The problem is that, to me, mentioning my accomplishments at all feels like bragging. Of course, this only applies to me. I want to hear the awesome things everyone else has going on.
Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned before, I have lots of people around willing to knock some sense into me, to remind me that my accomplishments are worth sharing, and to call me out when I’m minimizing the things that I’ve done. It’s a slow process, but I’m working on it.
I’m less than six months out from my release date, which means that the next few months are going to be full of promoting my book not only to family and friends, but to people I don’t know. Going to bookstores and libraries and introducing myself. Telling people not just that they should read my book, but why. Going to at least one conference and networking. Doing interviews. Possibly wearing a sandwich board and walking around the mall. (I’m just spit-balling here but that sounds like a thing people do right? I’m going to be great at promo.) So I have to get better. And I will.
There’s no cure for Impostor Syndrome. It’s one of those things that can be controlled, but is always lurking. I was thinking this week about how so many favorite book/movie/TV characters are the underdogs. The ones who just don’t fit in. And I got to wondering why that is. I had three different people tell me this week that they admire how together I am, how I manage to juggle everything that’s going on and still get things done. And I just laughed and laughed because, in my own mind, I am a hot mess. My theory is that we all see ourselves as the outsider, the one who is just putting on a good face. And we all secretly want to save the world.
So maybe the first step is getting out of our own way. I’m game if you are!