I think all writers will recognize this undeniable truth: writing is scary as hell. Well, technically, it’s not so much the writing that’s scary, but letting others read what you’ve written. You put so much of yourself in those words, aside from all the blood, sweat, and tears, that submitting all that to someone else’s judgment is horrifying. At least, it is to me.
To me, there’s a thin line between what I write and who I am. Maybe over time, I will develop thicker skin, but I’ve heard and seen many writers express the same sentiments. There’s even a word for it, though it doesn’t specifically relate to writers only: Imposter Syndrome. It’s described as the constant fear of being exposed as a fraud.
And in case you think only ‘lesser’ writers are plagued by this, consider the experience of Neil Gaiman, the bestselling author of, amongst others, American Gods. He, too, wrestled with Imposter Syndrome, and even wrote about an encounter with Neil Armstrong, who confessed to sharing that same sentiment. Surely, if Neil Gaiman and Neil Armstrong struggle with this, then I, too, am ‘allowed’.
As a friend of me said: “Embrace the doubt and use it to fuel growth.” The only way to grow as a human being, and to truly connect with others is by being vulnerable. I learned that from Brené Brown, who also confessed to wrestling with self doubt.
I’m a writer. I struggle with Imposter Syndrome. There, I feel better already.