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