Oh, my friends. It's time for episode 034 of the Write Now podcast. And I am so glad about that. :)
Before we begin, a quick note that I've made it easier than ever before to support the work I do with the Write Now podcast with my new Tip Jar! :D
All right, enough of that. Let's begin.
"Who gave you permission to be a writer?"
I know that often, on this very podcast, I've encouraged you to stand up (or stay seated, whatever) and proudly proclaim, "I am a writer."
But sometimes (or maybe a lot of the time) saying this can make us feel like a fraud. Or perhaps you feel so fraudulent that you say it with a blush and a grimace, or you never say it at all.
Because despite all the positive, affirming statements, there's always that voice. That mean, nasty little voice in the back of your mind that causes you to doubt yourself. The voice that asks, so viciously, "Who gave you permission to call yourself a writer?
This is all part of something called the Imposter Syndrome, and today we're going to talk about how to respond to it.
Why is it so hard for us to see our own value?
The Imposter Syndrome is described beautifully in a New York Times article by Carl Richards entitled "Learning to Deal With the Imposter Syndrome", published on October 26, 2015.
The article credits psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes for coining the term in 1978, and Richards describes it as follows:
They described it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” While these people “are highly motivated to achieve,” they also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.” Sound familiar?
Why, yes. Yes it does.
Remembering your worth.
Obviously, it's not healthy to think that you are the most amazing writer in the cosmos, and that your writing is going to, like, liberate all people everywhere from shackles real and imagined.
But it's also not healthy to feel worthless or fraudulent. Because you are neither of those things. You. Are. A. Writer. And you have immense worth as a person... whether or not you are working on a writing project at this moment.
And just think -- the fact that you even deal with imposter syndrome is an indicator that you have the depth of intelligence and creativity that it takes to be a really fabulous writer.
So what I want you to do, right now, is take a deep breath and say, "My name is [your name], and I am a writer." I don't care if you stand up and shout it or remain seated at your desk and whisper it.
Just say it. Believe it. Do it. Be it. Prove that voice in your head wrong. And show the world how amazing you are.
Book of the week.
This week's book is Among Others by Jo Walton. And... wow. Just wow.
Reading this book felt like coming home to myself -- there's no other way of putting it. I've never identified with a character (the protagonist, Mori) so much.
The main character's twin sister has passed away in the climax of a battle between good and evil... and we come in as readers to witness the aftermath.
This book is like nothing I've read before. It's a gently told tale that takes place just as the dust begins to settle, just as Mori's life begins to morph and change with the absence of her sister.
It's also a beautiful homage to the love of books and reading. Throughout this novel (told diary-style), we get unique insights into not only Mori's thoughts and actions but what she's reading as well. Mori loves sci-fi, and I love the way Ms. Walton has woven books (and the reading, processing of, and discussing them) into the story.
It's unique and very much unlike any other fantasy you've read. I urge you to give it a try. I for one can't wait to read it again.
Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.