Imposter Syndrome for Writers Is a Real Thing (+ the Key to Slaying It)

Imposter syndrome.

It’s a trending phrase these days. You see it everywhere. Just hearing the words may evoke a twinge of recognition, along with an accompanying clench of nausea in your gut.

A tremendous number of writers identify with the idea of imposter syndrome. Foundationally, this is the feeling that you aren’t good enough, that whatever praise or success you may have achieved was nothing more than a stroke of luck, and that sooner or later people will “find you out” as a fraud or at best a one-trick pony.

It’s no wonder writers seem to be disproportionately affected by imposter syndrome. For starters, we put our most vulnerable bits on display for a living. More than that, we work in a craft that not only requires high-level and often delicate skills, but also one that is often judged arbitrarily, with opinions based more on people’s emotional experiences than on any set standard. If you make money from your art, even that can often fail to provide any kind of stable measure of your success. Your first book may be a bestseller, but the next may not be.

In fact, the more success a writer achieves, the more aggressive imposter syndrome can become. After all, the more people who “believe” in your success, the more you have to live up to. And yet, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only one suffering. You look around on social media, and all your peers or idols seem to be happily sailing through their careers with few or any doubts, sharing win after win. You may think, Well, they seem to have it all together, so I must really be an imposter.

Maybe you’re just starting out and battling the belief that “I could never be a writer.” Or maybe you’re on your dozenth book and making enough to write full-time but constantly fighting the feeling that “I’m not worthy” or “I’ll never really be good enough.” Either way, you’re not alone.

I’m just going to say this upfront: there’s no quick fix for imposter syndrome. There’s no snapping your fingers and declaring, “Begone!” Why? Because imposter syndrome isn’t caused by external factors. It’s not the result of how well you write, how many books you’ve sold, how many good reviews you’ve received, or how much money you make as a writer. Imposter syndrome lives much deeper inside, like a resident parasite. This means banishing it requires concentrated and ongoing efforts to understand its true causes.

This post has been on my mind for quite some time. One of the reasons I want to share it is because I believe it’s valuable for writers who are perceived as successful to own that they, too, may feel like imposters. This is important because it highlights the fact that the feelings of imposter syndrome have nothing to do with actual metrics of success. Indeed, harking back to our discussions of the shadow in the last two posts, working through imposter syndrome is very much about working through one’s own personal shadow.

So I’ll just give you this one for free: although I have been a full-time writer for over a decade, sold over half a million books, been published in seven languages, won awards, blah, blah, blah—I face down imposter syndrome every day of my life. I’m scared every time I launch a book, such my latest Writing Archetypal Character Arcs. Negative reviews still put me in a tailspin. Every time, I publish a post (including this one), there’s a voice in my head telling me I’m not saying anything particularly smart or valuable or original—that one of these days, people are going to figure out I’m an uneducated hack who makes no sense—that the only reason I’m a successful writer at all is thanks to sheer dumb luck.

Obviously, there are other (louder) voices that keep me going. And I only share this because I want other writers (especially those who perhaps don’t yet have enough outward metrics of success to help them argue against the inner critic) to know they are not alone and that the voice of imposter syndrome is not some clarion of truth that must be heeded.

The other reason I’m sharing this post now is because some of my own personal work with imposter syndrome recently bore some fruit that gave my thoughts enough shape for a full post. I actually had another post scheduled for this week, but after encountering powerful insights from two separate sources this week, I wanted to hammer out my thoughts while they were still hot.

The Reason You Feel Like an Imposter? You Are

I know that reads like click-bait. I know it probably feels uncomfortable. I know it’s an extreme statement.

But… it’s probably true.

We are imposters if we are pretending to be something we are not. In some instances, this may fall under the old dictum of “fake it ’til you make it,” which may inspire us to pretend we have it way more together than we do. But it may it also result when we have, in fact, refused to integrate our own good qualities or successes, in which case we may be pretending, even to ourselves, that we are not as good as the facts clearly say we are.

Regardless, the experience of imposter syndrome indicates a lack of cohesion between inner and outer realities. Sometimes this lack of cohesion results from our fears about claiming a true identity (whether that of a noob or an expert). However, it often points to a lack of understanding about this inner conflict between old/safe identity and newly-emerging/totally-scary identity. We may not even recognize that these two competing identities are the mutual creators of our often nauseating uncertainty of how tell which voice—the encourager or the critic—is telling us the truth.

This week, in reading Deena Metzger’s Writing for Your Life, I came across her description of the imposter syndrome experienced by Marie-Louise Von Franz, “the renowned student of Carl Jung.” In Metzger’s words:

Marie-Louise Von Franz… tells how she is attacked by the critic every time she sits down to a new work. “You don’t know anything; you can’t write; that’s stupid” is how the critic belittles one of the most brilliant people of our time. This, she says, sometimes goes on for days. But she persists, to our good fortune, and the work appears.

As I read this, I was struck by how all the world sees a woman like Von Franz—how I see her: as someone who gave so much to the world through her writings. From our view, on the outside looking in, the woman was certainly not an imposter. She was a brilliant mind, with whom few could keep up. And yet, she was an imposter… to herself—because some part of her insisted on believing, on pretending, that she was not this brilliant mind, that in fact her contributions were worse than worthless.

Often, we hear this term “imposter syndrome” and think the “cure” must be just getting over the idea that we are an imposter. However, I think the cure is the opposite. The cure is recognizing we are imposters, but perhaps not in the ways we initially assume.

The Critic As the Shadow Protector

Imposter syndrome is really just another name for the hell our inner critics like to put us through. I have spoken before about how the inner critic can, in fact, be an ally. When we are able to cultivate a good relationship with our inner critic, it becomes an advisor able to offer us invaluable guidance.

Again, this points to shadow work, because a critic whispering abuses in our ears is clearly not a helpful or integrated part of our conscious personalities. Even still, its very presence indicates there must be some corresponding good stuff hiding out in our unconscious shadows, waiting for us to rehabilitate and reintegrate it.

What if we stopped viewing the critic as the bad guy? We can (and should) still call it out on its unacceptable behaviors, while also acknowledging that its deeper motives may be to help and protect us.

Imposter syndrome is usually the sign of an identity shift. Either our identity within the world has shifted or we seek to do something that will shift it (aka, become a published writer). To adopt a new identity, even a positive one, means allowing an old identity to die. Any shift in identity can be experienced by the ego as life-threatening. Particularly as writers, we are recreating ourselves with every new thing we write. What if imposter syndrome is popping up just to try to keep us safe?

Here’s a thunderclap from Metzger:

The critic may have developed as a protector when we were young to help us avoid situations in which we would have been utterly powerless.

Boom. And isn’t that the truth? When that horrible nagging voice shows up and tells us we shouldn’t do that, that we’re only going to embarrass ourselves, that really we’re not as good as we think we are—isn’t it ultimately trying to steer us away from situations that seem as if they may hurt us?

The trick here isn’t, of course, agreeing with the critic, throwing up our hands in defeat, and walking away (like Rex in Toy Story 2: “Oh well, we tried.”). Rather, the trick is in diving into the depths of ourselves to rescue and rehabilitate the shadow protector into a truly powerful and helpful ally.

Slaying Imposter Syndrome With an Understanding of Who You Really Are (aka, Where You’re Really At)

If imposter syndrome is all the result of a faulty approach to how you interact with your personal identities, then the key to slaying it is simply understanding who you really are (cue that most timeless of all memes: “Always be you. Unless you can be Batman. Then be Batman.”)

Now, as an Enneagram Three and therefore someone who has spent a lot of her life pondering identity, I can tell you that figuring out “who you really are” can often feel like looking for a needle in a needlestack. After all, it may very well seem that you are both of these identities competing for your attention. You are both a talented writer and a struggling nobody. You are both someone who knows what they’re talking about and someone who is full of beans. You are both someone who is confident she knows what she knows and someone who is riddled with doubt.

This is because humans aren’t any one thing at any one time. Rather, we exist on a timeline. We are constantly becoming. Therefore, it can be more grounding to think less about what particular identities you inhabit and more about where you’re at in the process.

When it comes to any public enterprise in which success is measured by outside metrics such as sales, one of the best models I’ve ever encountered is one I just heard about yesterday on revolutionary business coach Simone Grace Seol’s podcast I Am Your Korean Mom, in which she outlined her model for Three Stages of Growth.

According to Seol, those stages are:

1. Creation (when you’re writing the book, building the business, etc.)

2. Acclimation (when you’re adjusting to the new identity of success)

3. Acceleration (when you’re taking everything you’ve learned and going 2.0)

The first two phases are where imposter syndrome are most likely to strike.

In the creation phase, you may feel like an imposter for the simple reason that you are treading into uncharted territory. You are daring to believe you can change your identity—which freaks out the critic and makes it want to slam on the brakes. The good news here is that all you have to do is keep going. Eventually, you will be someone who has completed a book, someone who has mastered the skillsets of writing, someone who knows that they know how to write book.

But then comes the acclimation phase. According to Seol, acclimation is a phase few people know about—and therefore few people know how to handle. She says:

Now, how many of you … have achieved a really big goal or created something that you really wanted for a long time only to be surprised that you feel really, really terrible? So many of us think that hitting the goal is going to be the best thing ever, but then we realize that once we do hit the ambitious goal it starts to feel really, really scary and anxious and we just kind of have a meltdown a lot of the times. It’s a real thing. The pain of acclimation … is that now that you’ve created the thing that you wanted to create, now that you achieved the goal, now you have to get used to … being somebody who has that as part of her reality.

As we’ve already seen, imposter syndrome is likely to be caused by competing identities within a person’s psyche. If you can identify where you are within the process, you can gain clues as to which identities are struggling to become fully integrated. Doing this requires the ability for deep introspection, radical self-honesty, and time to let the pieces of one’s self digest and reassemble. This is the work that will allow imposter syndrome to cease being a painful enemy and instead become a useful tool for growing one’s self throughout the journey of the writing life.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions? Have you ever struggled with imposter syndrome as a writer? What did it teach you? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. My immediate reaction to this was: “well, you’ve got to have some success to have an imposter’s syndrome, so yay for me!” However, if I step away from the question of imposter’s syndrome and ask myself if I have doubts about my writing, the answer looks very different.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, ultimately that kind of doubt, wherever it’s coming from, is usually caused by a similar experience of cognitive dissonance. Identifying the dissonant parts ourselves and working through their messages is always helpful.

  2. Paul Gausman says

    Thanks, as always, for sharing your insights and authoring wisdom.

    It seems to me that the relationship between the inner critic and the self is much like the relationship between the rational mind and the emotional mind. The emotional mind mostly acts as a sensor of environmental status, and the rational mind can then use that information to pursue better outcomes. This is not always the case, and havoc (e.g. panic) can ensue when the rational mind lets the emotional mind take over.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I would go further and say there is a third intelligence center: the body. I think we do better to learn to listen to the body/gut’s wisdom. We put far too much pressure on the rational mind and believe it is capable of ultimate wisdom, when really it is more of a guidance system than a decision mechanism.

  3. How is it that you keep having such timely posts? 😂

    I’ve recently come to realize this is exactly the stumbling block between me and my writing. I have barely published anything, but I’ve shared a lot of my writing with others, and I deeply feel like I’ll be outed as the imposter I am. The shift in thinking you give in this post—what identity really means, how I am an imposter in a different way—is something I’ve never thought about before. I think I’ll be spending quite some time trying to figure out those answers. Thank you.

    I also wanted to share a coping mechanism I’ve found useful, for anyone else who may find it helpful: look at what you’re trying to do as a challenge. I find that when I remove ‘I should be accomplishing’ from my goals and turn it into ‘I’m going to challenge myself to get better at’, I remove some of the guilt and self-doubt from the equation. I am not where I want to be, but even my failures help me learn, and so bring me closer to that goal.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      This is great! Thanks for sharing. Another similar reframe I like to do whenever I encounter someone else whose presentation of success makes me doubt my own is to catch any feelings of insecurity before they turn into envy and to instead see this person in the role of a “wayshower.” Instead of viewing them as competition or a standard I’m currently failing to live up to, I like to shift into gratitude for their ability to show me what I *could* be capable of achieving.

  4. Eric Troyer says

    This must have been hard for you to write. Thanks for being willing to expose yourself like that. For what it’s worth, you’ve been giving out a ton of good advice for many years. I’ve learned so much from you. You’re not an imposter to me. And, I’m sure, to all your regular readers.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for your many comments over the years! 🙂

  5. LadyAnne says

    Thank you for another wonderful post! I only write as a hobby, with no real plans to publish anything. So it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking I’m not a “real” writer. One thing that helped me battle my imposter syndrome was the realization that It’s All Made Up. All of it. Your WIP. Your favorite books. The classics we read in school. All of it, every book, was created out of nothing. So if pulling a story out of thin air makes me an imposter, so is every author I’ve ever read.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m so glad you posted this. Imposter syndrome can come in so many flavors and shades. This disbelief in being a “real writer” is something so many writers struggle with. I always say “if you write, you’re a writer.” And I have come to believe more and more strongly in the tremendous value that is being added to the world simply by the courageous act of writing, whether what is written is ever seen by even a single other person.

      This post seems like a good corollary to today’s discussion: Why Everyone Should Write (Even if You Think You Stink)

  6. I believe, with no scientific basis nor credentials (so take this with a good shake of salt), that what we call imposter syndrome, and, in fact, writer’s block, are caused by a kind of war within different parts of the mind.

    There is a creative part of the mind that is very childlike. This childlike part of the mind strives to please the more critical part of the mind. In order to be successful, these parts of the mind must work together. When the critic becomes overbearing, she frightens the childlike part of the mind and convinces the child she is not good enough. This will cause the child to run and hide and the critical part of the brain will attempt to take over and run things on her own, without making use of the childlike part, and her creativity. When the childlike part runs and hides, the critical part runs amok screaming that everything she does is not good enough. That is writers block.

    Imposter syndrome is a similar separation of the mind. The critical part of the brain has turned its sights on itself and realizes it isn’t what it is pretending to be. But when the mind works together, the critical part with the creative part, it is what it is, and can claim its accomplishments.

    This critical part of the mind is essential for directing the creative part, and honing her work. The critical part likes to be in charge and make judgments, but she need not be an ogre. When she is an ogre, we get writers block and imposter syndrome.

    To address these problems, the critical part of the brain must learn to go about its business with humility and charity. The relationship between the critical mind and the creative mind should be like that of a loving parent and a child, encouraging not demanding, playful not demeaning. The key here is that when something is out of balance, it is most likely the critic not the creative part of the mind that is the problem. What makes it difficult to address is that the critical part of the brain is the part that makes decisions and is in charge. If the mad queen is in charge and cutting off heads, who in the kingdom can tell her to calm down and make her listen to reason. Often, a stimulus from outside the kingdom is needed to place her in a better mood.

    And the critical mind needs to approach her assessment of herself and others with humility. The spirit of humility will lead us to delight in finding others who are better than us and not feel like we are not measuring up when we do. We are not pretending to be someone else when we create, but we are our full selves, not just the critic in charge.

    For those from a Christian perspective, you might find the Litany of Humility helpful. Look it up. You may be surprised in how many ways a prideful perspective has been at work in your perceptions. Often, we think of pride as making us believe we are better than others. But, just as often, or maybe more often, it makes us judge ourselves as unworthy, and look at our accomplishments as less than others. And when pride is moving us, it will, eventually, lead to a fall. Or, so I’ve heard…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Well said. This is perhaps the single most crucial polarity creatives struggle with. Indeed, learning to bring harmony to this duality between our creative and rational brains is arguably one of the most tremendous growth experiences a human can undertake.

  7. My reasons for feeling like an imposter seem to be not so much acclimation to success – but more a feeling that I have not achieved great success in my writing and therefore I may be an imposter.

  8. Jody Wallace says

    I’m with Jim Simon. Whittling away at this for mumble mumble years and having mumble mumble books under my belt without reaching certain baseline sales figures is…hard. I started when trad publishing was the ONLY thing, and watching the market transform has been a journey in and of itself. Mentalities and attitudes have also had to adapt.

    As an indie author I can be in control of publication in a way that was not functionally available in Days of Yore, but for the most part, I may as well have left the books on my hard drive. My inner imposter often asks me if this means I should be focusing my efforts in some other venture, but then I guess my cover artists and editors wouldn’t get paid, haha.

    I guess my imposter syndrome is trying to protect me from wasting my time because I can’t seem to get my books into the hands of readers — to find some other way to make the world a better place.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I mentioned this in a previous comment as well, but I’ll say it again because I think it’s always worth saying, and that is: I absolutely believe that the sheer act of writing always has the capability of making the world a better place. Even if not a single person reads what you write, the act of writing changes *you.* Although this is not precisely what Anne Lamott was talking about, I come back often to her quote: “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.”

  9. Thank you for sharing and articulating this so well. So much of our work is an inside job.

    Some time ago, I looked into my imposter syndrome and discovered it to be a child-like belief that was frightened of dying (change), as in, if I stopped believing this, then this part of me would die. So I explained to this self that it wasn’t going to die, it was going to change and transform into a more beautiful and wonderful thing. I still have doubts in my writing, but I’m better able to manage them now.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Aww, this so beautiful, and so aptly put. Above all, I appreciate your bringing attention to the fact that these seemingly “dangerous” parts of ourselves, such as the inner critic, which can make our lives so miserable, are in fact often very childlike aspects of the psyche. Once when I caught myself arguing with my inner critic, I suddenly had this vision of it as a little child. I just stopped and “stared” at it, and saw it for the small and mostly inept protector that it was. Instead of banishing it, I patted it on the head, lovingly but also from the perspective of the adult. “Thanks, my dear, I know you’re just trying to help, but I’ll take it from here.” Now, it’s almost a habit for me to envision my inner critic as this child and to pat it on the head. It always sort of blinks at me, like it’s surprised, but I get a sense of relief too–that I listened to its concerns but am not forcing it to carry all the burden.

  10. Colleen Faye Janik says

    I think a few of us are blissfully immune to this syndrome by way of low expectations. No, I never expected to be another Danielle Steele or Victoria Holt or Daphne Du Maurier. When I feel inspired and have a pencil and paper handy, and have a few hours to write without interruption, and I get something published and somebody makes comments indicating that they appreciate and understand what I’m saying and they believe it has value, I am satisfied that I’ve achieved my purpose. Those heartfelt compliments mean the world to me and confirm that I’m doing what I’m meant to do. I wish everyone else the same satisfaction.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Hear, hear. Such a balanced and beautiful perspective. Success and abundance are always accessible to us, if we’re willing to adjust perspective and see what is in front of us.

  11. Wonderful post. Thanks for writing this. I have my own interactions with my ‘inner critic’ and I suspect I always will.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I don’t expect mine to ever leave me either. And, indeed, I don’t want it to. I just want to constantly be upgrading my relationship with it and its ability to advise me wisely.

  12. Ooh, interesting to have this framed from the perspective of the enneagram. As a nine, I can fall into the trap of letting my identity be defined by whatever is needed or expected by those around me or whatever will create the least friction. I think we nines have to put extra effort into making sure we’re aware of and/or defining our own identities, so what you’ve written here adds another layer. Thanks for the great food for thought!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I relate to that too. Threes, Sixes, and Nines are all “other-referencing” (rather than “self-referencing”) and learning to even recognize that’s where our head is at changes everything. But the struggle is real. 😉

  13. Max Simmons says

    Excellent post and again, right on the ball.
    I’ve had some experience of this syndrome in another field.
    When I finished my PhD as an older person, I initially baulked at referring to myself as Dr. Whenever I used that honorific, I thought of myself as an imposter.
    Gradually that changed and I shrugged off the reluctance.
    Then one day on an international flight, a passenger suffered a heart attack and the cabin attendants obviously checked the passenger list and asked me to assist. I’ll never forget the look on the young man’s face when I told him I wasn’t a medical doctor. Pure distain!
    Now I am proud to call myself a writer.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Being a writer probably won’t get you in trouble with a flight attendant. 😉

  14. Gosh I thought that I was the only one with multiple identities.
    When I was young I can remember saying to myself ‘Will the real me please stand up.’
    I’m still not sure who the ‘real’ me is: rebel vs conformist, gentle person vs calculating bitch, evil queen vs good fairy, intellectual vs dumbo. I fought this for a long time until I had therapy and came to terms with myself, but that has dispersed like a dandelion clock in the wind. And it’s not just the inner me, outside comments – good or bad – knock me off my pedistal and are interpreted as critical comments even though they are (and the inner me knows this) either praise or thoughtful critical comments. I thought that I had worked through my childhood traumas, but every time I think I have, that trembling child resurrects itself in self doubt. I now realise that it is a constant challenge to appreciate oneself and ones abilities.
    Thank you for your post.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m a results-oriented person, so it has been a continuing evolution for me to recognize and accept that life truly is a journey and not a destination. I will never get “there”–and that is the beauty of it.

  15. I’ve learned a technique of the campfire. When the inner critic starts piping up, I acknowledge what it’s trying to tell me – kind of what you’re saying in acknowledging the stage you’re in – thank it for trying to help, understand what its fear is and what its warning is, and tell it to please go roast a marshmallow at the campfire and let me get on with it. It can have a chat with the other critics I’ve told to sit down. 😉 Not always perfect, but it does help sometimes.

  16. Thanks for opening up and sharing with us. I suffer from this, too. Most of the time, I’m dissecting positive comments, mining for negative subtext. One thing that has helped me was to name my Imposter Syndrome, as I do my characters. I call him Dobby, and visualize him, and tell him to be quiet.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I love that. I can see how naming it something lovable like Dobby would immediately shift the energy around.

  17. My inner critic are those voices that challenged me as a writer claiming that I was plagiarizing (because it was too good), that writing a waste of time, and the empty mail box syndrome.
    So feel my imposter syndrome is these voices. I even wrote a poem about this, you can find it here:
    As the poem says the inner critic tears at our webs of creativity but as you stated, a writer, well writes. I don’t think I could not write, even though I hear those endless voices in my head.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Just being able to recognize which voices are the critic’s is a huge advantage in bringing it to consciousness.

  18. Ralph Livingston says

    For many years I desired to write a history of my great-grandfather’s Civil War regiment. I had such an inferiority complex. Most of the authors of works like this are PHD’s, sit in University offices, and are lauded by the publishers and readers of this genre. I couldn’t possibly compete with them – or could I?
    Last year, after completing a 74,000 word novel, I surprised myself with my creativity and writing ability (the book is currently being edited).
    Hey! I have thoroughly researched the history of the regiment, and the life of my namesake great-grandfather.
    I’ve decided to write the book, somewhat factual and somewhat in first person. In other words I am his alter-ego. I am he and he is I. I can do this, and am comfortable with it.
    Naturally, I will be putting some “words in his mouth” so to say, but I have learned a heck of a lot about him and his life. Wish me luck.

  19. Your honesty and willingness to share your vulnerability is only part of what makes you so precious, Katie. I will have to re-read this post over and over to fully absorb the layers of wisdom you’ve shared, and I will continue to encourage all my students to experience the thrill of opening your blog to learn from one of the greats; and you truly are one of the greats! Thanks, as always, for being such an inspiration in this crazy, noisy, world of ours. All the best to you and all those who know the joy and agonies of being a writer–and still write!

  20. Excellent article. I often suffer from “Imposters Syndrome” Sometimes to combat that I have just pulled one of my own books from my shelves and read a chapter or two. Luckily so far, I have chosen well.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      This is a great idea! I do this too sometimes, as well as reading my own good reviews. I try not to put a HUGE amount of stock in good reviews because then I’d have to believe the bad ones too. 😉 But hearing that others enjoyed something I wrote is always encouragement to keep going.

  21. Dear KM, I’ve read your words of wisdom over the last decade–I think I found you through Angela/Becca’s who used to be on the Blueboard–but never stopped by to say thank you. I finally decided to subscribe because I could use more of your words in my life. Thank you for writing and your generosity. God bless you.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever suffered from the classic imposter syndrome. I called myself a writer from the first day I took a writing class. But I do question my motivations–I want to write for the glory of God but I fall terribly short. Perfectionism gets in the way. Also, my ego is too big. I want to have a Mary heart and point to Jesus but too often I want praise and acknowledgment. Money too. Sigh. Does that make me a bad Christian writer? Or a Christian writer at all? What I try to do is stay faithful–keep writing and learning and praying He will do the rest. I’m still a teenager when it comes to my Christian faith (converted 14 yrs ago) but oh, so happy and grateful to be caught by the Hound of Heaven!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks, Vijaya. Great to hear you’re enjoying the site. 🙂 I think the ego gets a bad rap. Usually, when we hear the word “ego,” we immediately go to negative connotations such as “egotistical.” But the ego is a necessary component of the personality. We couldn’t interface with the world without it. More than that, the ego is there to remind us that we *do* deserve to receive abundantly in return for our contributions to the world–otherwise, we wouldn’t be to contribute and nobody wins. It offers us boundaries and safeguards our self-worth–if we let it. Which is not to say, of course, that it needs to run the show either. 😉

  22. Kelley Schorn says

    Wow I have JUST been getting that itch to write fiction again after a while and I have been subscribed to your podcast for years but hadn’t listened in also years lol. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed listening to your thoughts you are just SO inelligent with the way you approach topics. Have you heard of IFS? or Internal Family Systems? If not, you should. It aligns so much with what you were saying about the inner selfs, the critic and the self and finding unity amongst that inner protector and the parts it is trying to protect.

    So glad to have rediscovered this podcast and you!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks, Kelley! And, yes, I haven’t done a ton of direct study around Family Systems, but what I have seen has been super interesting and helpful.

  23. This: ‘Imposter syndrome is usually the sign of an identity shift. Either our identity within the world has shifted or we seek to do something that will shift it (aka, become a published writer).’ Thank you. This feels as if it was written just for me.

    I knew I was a good teacher/tech writer, but I was sure I couldn’t possibly be a good fiction writer. Kept my fiction writing a secret for almost a decade before I finally gathered up the courage to publish. Still not comfortable calling myself a ‘writer’. Instead, I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller. Lots less emotional baggage. 🙂

  24. It’s comforting to know that other more successful authors carry around imposter syndrome. I’d always wanted to write and share my stories. I think a lot of my IS stems from the awful 1st experience of sharing a story with my 6th grade English class. The assignment let us write anything we wanted and we were expected to read it aloud standing before the class. I was a huge Stephen King fan (still am) and was pumped to share a horror story of my own. So, naturally my story was about astronauts stranded on Mars that turn into zombies. They call for rescue with the intention to eat the rescue team. The horrified teacher stopped me from reading the rest and was obviously grossed out by it. Said something along the lines of “this isn’t the kind of story I meant”. The other kids laughed. Not only was it mortifying, it solidified my standing as the nerdy fat weird girl in school. (Kids can be real jerks.) But I really think that this experience shaped how I feel about my writing and how phony I feel whenever I’m tapped to be on a panel with the big name authors in my genre. It’ll probably never go away. 😦
    On my best days, I use the memory as fuel to push on. On my worst days, it’s easy to let it win and give up.
    But, I’m still here.

  25. Nancy Barnes says

    Thank you for sharing and helping us realize there will always be that personal inner struggle regardless of whether an experienced author or a first-time writer, muddling their way through all the steps to become successful. It has been my dream for years, and what started as an initial goal of a 50,000-word novel has now reached 100,000. I do daily research, hoping to soak up all vital information on the do’s and dont’s, often feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I have no background in writing and literally jumped in feet first, but so happy I made that decision. I do have confidence in my ability, but so much to learn. Regardless of the outcome, I am so proud of myself. Thank you for making the road much easier to navigate

  26. It’s a conundrum. To be a copout by not writing at all, for one, saying you can write a novel, you just choose not to. (which might be true).
    For two, writing, even finishing a novel, probably one or several of worth, but not putting yourself out there (because you’ve proven to yourself you have what it takes).
    For three, by a miracle, having a publisher pick up your novel and possibly make money, but then being exposed to criticism (which nonetheless marks success).
    There are all kinds of imposters, I guess. I have a ton of shorter writings, and put myself in the first category thereby.

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