{From Blog Post to Bookshelf} How I Began to Let Go of Imposter Syndrome to Become the Writer I Was Born to Be*

howtobeawriter

I’m a writer.
It took me almost 32 years, two degrees, and three full-time jobs to lay claim to that term.

And here I am, ten years later waiting for my first non-fiction book to come out and working on a novel.

Curiously, my parents *wanted* me to be a writer. They gave me a succession of typewriters beginning in fourth grade and encouraged me to take creative writing in high school alongside typing classes. They applauded my awards in high school journalism contests.

But I felt like… an imposter. A phony. A fraud. I figured that my success was dumb luck. I kept that fear locked up inside of me, allowing it to stand between me and what I longed to be, what I was made to be.

What finally happened to release me from my self-imposed limits?

I was hired to work in fundraising for a non-profit arts group, where I learned how to write grant proposals. My boss was a whiz at preparing the budget, but I was the one with the chops for the statements. After writing almost daily for months–and with much praise from my superiors, it finally clicked in my head.

I wasn’t an imposter.

I was a writer.

And that’s when my professional life became not just satisfying but deeply satisfying. I dropped down to work part-time while I started my freelance career, then became a magazine editor (a job that I loved), and then switched back to freelancing when we moved home to Texas. Lucky for me, social media came along and gave me multiple outlets to express myself.

In hindsight, I know exactly what changed for me. I made writing a daily habit. If I had it all to do again, I would have started that habit a lot sooner and not been intimidated by the idea of writing, writing, writing as much as I could, whenever I could, about whatever I fancied.

I would have accepted my need to write as part of who I am.

But that was all years ago, and bygones are just that… bygones.

I’m happy that I learned the lesson at all, and while I was still young enough to do something about it.

What dreams are you waiting to fulfill? What talents have you set aside because of “imposter syndrome”?

hemingwayfinal

Related Content on Sulia.com: If Hemingway Said It…

* When this post initially went out to my blog subscribers, there was a grammatical error. So I chuckled and then I fixed it. That’s another thing that I’ve learned… mistakes happen. Fix a problem or chalk it up to experience. But don’t ever let the fear of making a mistake stop you from writing, if that’s what you want to do.

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6 comments

    • You’re welcome, Melanie. I find it interesting that it took me so long to “see” the story in it, to acknowledge publicly what my turning point was.

  1. I love this post, Pamela, and can relate…except that I once believed I was a writer. When I worked full-time and filled my days with writing, I knew my craft paid for my meals. Now that I’m home and just blogging, I feel like an imposter. I keep planning to take the leap and begin freelancing again, but…what? I think I’m not feeling brave. You are completely right, though–writing every day is the key to being a writer. (Must improve upon that, stat.) Thanks for sharing.

    • Ooooo, that’s interesting, Julie. Like you could accept it in service to someone else (for pay) but not in service to yourself? Writing daily reminds me of that adage: “When the student is read, the teacher appears.” Doing pages, blog posts, or social media jottings are ways to get ready!

  2. Interesting! Newly minted Health Care Providers (I’m an NP) often use the term imposter to describe how we feel those first weeks and months of practice. We have the degrees, certifications, knowledge and skill to do the job … just not the experience!

    • I should have clarified – I’ve been practicing for 18 years. But I very much remember feeling like and imposter!

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