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How You Can Overcome Imposter Syndrome and Actually Write Your Book




If you're a writer, chances are you've heard of impostor syndrome. Some people call it the "impostor phenomenon," and others call it being haunted by your inner critic. But whatever name we use for it, the reality is that many writers struggle with feeling like frauds whenever they try to write—especially as they move through their first book-length manuscript or try to publish their work. So let's talk about how you can overcome your own inner critic (and maybe even find some solace in writing) by following these simple steps:



Step 1: Start by understanding impostor syndrome.


Impostor syndrome is a term coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, and it refers to “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.” Many people who suffer from impostor syndrome feel like they’re frauds, or that they don't belong where they are despite evidence to the contrary (like having an advanced degree or being praised at work).


Impostor syndrome can affect anyone who has accomplished something great—even if it's something as simple as walking across the stage during graduation! The good news is there are plenty of ways to combat this feeling: take time each day for yourself, ask for help when you need it, and know your worth!



Step 2: Stop playing the comparison game with other writers' accomplishments.


It's natural to be inspired by other writers, but it's important to remember that there is no standard for success. If you find yourself comparing your work to theirs—or even worse, thinking about what you should be writing instead of what you want to write—it's time to take a step back and refocus.



Step 3: Understand that everyone is in their own place in the writing process.


Once you realize this, it becomes easier to feel comfortable with where you're at. If everyone is in their own place and has had different levels of difficulty with the writing process, then there's no reason for your experience to be any different than anyone else's.


There are a lot of reasons why people don't write their books. Some people are too busy with other things like work or family, some people just haven't gotten around to it yet, some people have tried and failed before, and some people just don't know what they want from the book (or maybe even if they want one at all), and so many more factors that can prevent someone from getting started on writing their books.


The point is: everyone has something going on in their lives that prevents them from making progress toward writing their book—but those things don't matter because we all have our own unique situations!


Step 4: Remember that you are in control of your writing time.


When you're in the thick of writing, it can be easy to lose track of time. You may start with the best intentions and end up spending four hours on a single paragraph. Or you might find yourself working on your book until midnight every night.


When this happens, remember that you are in control of your writing time! Set aside a specific amount of time each day or week for writing—preferably when your focus is at its peak—and stick to it as much as possible. It's okay if there are days when something comes up and interrupts your schedule; just try not to make a habit out of them!


Additionally, make sure that wherever you choose for composing has minimal distractions: no pets running around (or people), no loud music playing from another room...you get the idea!'



Step 5: Make a list of your writing milestones and accomplishments.


You may be surprised by how much you've already accomplished in your writing career. If you are an author, make a list of all the books you have written, published, and presented. If your book hasn't been published yet, make a list of everything else that has been published or presented under your name—essays, articles, short stories, or poems in journals or anthologies; even if they were rejected at the time! And don't forget about those awards and prizes...and any awards presentations that took place because of them!


If these things aren't enough to convince yourself that there is merit to what you are doing as an aspiring writer then thinks about where else this knowledge has taken you too. Many people who write also teach and/or mentor others through workshops and online classes; do some research into what it means for them when they do this work as well as what kind of impact their efforts have had on others' lives (including yours).





Step 6: Don't let perfectionism stop you from writing.


One of the most common reasons people don't write their books is perfectionism. We're all guilty of it at some level, but when you're someone who's working on something as big as writing a book, it can become crippling.


Perfectionism is a form of procrastination in that it keeps you from starting or finishing your project because you're worried about making mistakes and not doing the best job possible (even though the best job possible has little to do with success). Perfectionism is also about fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, etc., which will keep you from completing anything at all unless you can guarantee 100% success in advance.


Perfectionism leads to self-sabotage because nothing will ever be perfect enough for perfectionists (or so they tell themselves). If something goes wrong—and everything does go wrong sometimes—they'll feel like failures and give up rather than try to learn from their mistakes and move forward with enthusiasm.



Step 7: Find an audience for your work as you write it.


The final step in overcoming imposter syndrome is to find an audience for your work as you write it.


Do you know what’s great about having an audience? They can help validate your ideas, give feedback on the things that aren't working, and even tell you where to go next with your ideas and plans.


An audience can also help promote your work by recommending it to their friends and family so that more people get involved in what you're doing—which means more sales for you!

Finding an audience as a writer may seem like a daunting task at first, but if all else fails (or even if not), just start by writing something really simple: maybe just a blog post or two, or maybe even an ebook on Amazon. The important thing here is to get started on the journey of writing and developing into the person who wants their words seen by others before being able to share those words with such an audience



Step 8. Rewrite the voice of the inner impostor to be more gentle, caring, and compassionate.


Now that you've dealt with your inner impostor, it's time to rewrite his or her voice. The first thing is to reframe the way you talk to yourself—you don't have to be so harsh! You can try replacing "I'm not good enough" with something like:


"This is a new challenge, and I will learn from it."


Or:


"I am learning from this experience and becoming better for it."


The key here is being more gentle with yourself when things aren't going perfectly. Rather than focusing on the mistakes you made or how much progress you've made since starting out (even if it seems small). Think back over your past successes; they're evidence that even though there may be setbacks along the way, improvement happens every time we get up after falling down.




Conclusion


I know how hard it can be to get past impostor syndrome as a writer. But the first step is to stop comparing yourself to other writers and start focusing on what's important: your work. The next step is remembering that everyone has their own place in this process, so don't worry if someone else seems ahead of you or behind you on their journey. Finally, stop listening when your inner impostor tells you that something is perfect because there's always room for improvement!



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