We’ve all been there before. Maybe you’re loving what you’re writing, enjoying the scrumptious syllables and stupendous syntax, and boom, imposter syndrome hits – the undeniable feeling that everything you’re building is absolute crap. Spoiler alert: it’s mostly likely not absolute crap – but your subconscious doesn’t always believe that.
Imposter syndrome is a real mood-killer, let me tell ya. But it doesn’t have to be! You can retrain your brain to be nicer to you with a little focus. Once you figure out what’s causing the upset, you can work on bolstering your confidence. If it’s a habit like grumbling at yourself in the mirror, change it. Or, if there’s a particular person giving you grief, stop giving them access to you. That one seems obvious, but it’s far too overlooked. Take inventory of your social circles and make sure everyone around you respects your work. It’s just human decency!
Yes, it really is that simple. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily easy though. This week, I’ve put together my five favorite fantastically fulfilling methods of banishing imposter syndrome once and for all. Read on for all that and more!
Reflect on previous positive feedback that you’ve had.
This is a great time to flip through Amazon and re-read all those amazing reviews from your readers. Of course, avoid the less-than-stellar reviews for now. You can always revisit this when you’re feeling better again. Some authors even swear by keeping a folder full of positive reviews, ecstatic screenshots, and other cool moments to reflect on. Case in point: you can help yourself out a lot by keeping tabs on the things that remind you of your impact on others. Writing is powerful work, and when we make it all about popularity, we lose touch with that fact. You are amazing, and your work matters to so many people.
Switch to another task and rock it.
If there’s something particular making you feel less-than-stellar, put it aside. Then pick up something fun, relaxed, and easy that makes you feel like the badass you are. Sometimes, a confidence boost is as simple as finding your niche and sitting there long enough to ditch imposter syndrome. Do you kick butt at scrapbooking? Awesome – break out the tape and scissors. Or maybe you prefer to paint? Get to it, and let your creativity heal the elements of your skill that you find yourself questioning.
Serve others and share your skills.
I recently started mentoring high school students who are interested in learning more about the writing field. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience, because chatting with them reminds me where I came from. Sure, I’m not too much older than them, but I’ve been out of school long enough to experience a bit of the real world. And it’s tough out here (Mom, can you come pick me up?). So when I take the time to share what I’ve learned with them, not only do they benefit from lessons I learned, but they also tell me how much they appreciate my help. Which, in turn, reminds me that my experiences, and my expertise, holds significant value. Of course, true confidence comes from the inside – but there’s no shame in needing a little external reassurance from time to time to ease imposter syndrome.
Take stock of your self-care.
How is your work-life balance going? If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling low because you haven’t been able to refuel. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and yet far too often, we work until we collapse. This is neither sustainable long term nor healthy for you. To truly thrive at whatever it is you’re doing in life, you must be a human being (not a human doing). So if you notice an area of your life that is in need of a little TLC, pause everything until you handle it. Once you do, you’ll quickly see how much better you feel (both emotionally and physically). For more ideas about productive resting, read this recent article.
Remember: You are amazing!
This one isn’t a tip so much as a reality check – but hear me out. Most people can’t build worlds from letter on a page. Writing is an art form, as much as it is literary magic. Your talent brings people somewhere totally different while they have to physically stay put. You do that – not your nay-saying uncle or the Karen that lives across the street. You are amazing, and it’s normal to forget that sometimes. But don’t stay there – strap on your best writing gloves and keep going. No one can take that away from you.