Imposter Syndrome

Hey friends.

I know it’s been a while since I last posted. I have been focussing on writing my first novel and although it was slow to start, I am now in full flow.

As I write this, I am sat next to Yoda (author friend who inspires me constantly, and also makes me laugh my arse off)  She is reading through pages of my first draft and although I am supposed to be focussing on other writing (this post for example) I cant help but watch her facial expressions out the corner of my eye and each time she roars with laughter, a massive wave of paranoia grips my neck – what’s so funny?  Wasn’t that supposed to be an emotional bit?

As it turns out, I am just not capable of writing mushy stuff.  I suck at it!  I suck at it so bad, that this year I decreed to my Hubby that Valentines was cancelled, for no other reason that I dreaded the soppy moonpiggin cards!  I don’t know what to do with my face when I read declarations of love, and I hate having my face watched for its reaction, so I just end up feeling angry.  As for writing it……………………. that extra long pause is the sum total of my mushy thoughts.  I love my husband to bits, I just prefer to show it rather than verbalise it!

imposter pic
Note the panic on my face as I realise my new Hubby is about to say ‘Mushy Shit’

So here I am, monitoring Yoda’s every nose wrinkle, twitch, sniff and smile.  I feel needy, insecure and apologetic.  I’ve put heart and soul into the words on the page before her, but find myself here with sweaty pits and a fixed grimace wondering whether my words are worthy of a reader.  I almost always feel the same when I publish my blog posts, but at least with those, I never see the reaction of the reader so I never have to wonder what they thought of it.

I guess its the same for most people when it comes to immediate feedback.  I cant imagine that anyone likes to feel judged, unless we are guaranteed to receive positive commentary so flourishing that we need to wipe the brown stain from the nose of the ‘critiquer’.

I recently had a mid term review in my day job and received an email from the boss letting me know what he thought of my work, my attitude to my work and whether or not I had reached my targets.  Before I had even opened the document, I felt annoyed. Judgement. The opinion of another on my abilities, my personality – its like the comments section on a social media post, open to both loveliness and trolls. I don’t like it!

It turned out that my review was favourable but it was too late by then, I had already pissed myself off.  Instinctive insecurity is always going to trip you at the starting line, whether you dust off your knees and keep running is the truest reflection of your character – but then nobody ever thinks philosophically before the first glass of ‘Bastard’ beer has settled in!

So far, Yoda appears to be genuinely loving my novel and is actually asking for more pages, rather than me feeling I am forcing them on her. We swap laptops and I read drafts of her latest novel and in return, she helps me with my fledgling offering.  I find that when I am writing, I do so with her in mind, as my ideal reader, the only person who can praise or poop on my work and not have me smash the laptop into her face (her laptop obviously, I’d cry if I broke my own).

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My Imposter Syndrome appears to affect not only my perceived abilities as a writer, but my ability to offer feedback in return. When Yoda offers opinion and advice on my work, I take it all in eagerly, absorbing every morsel of mentoring but when I am reading hers, my Valentine’s ineptitude kicks in and I am suddenly aware of my face, my mind goes blank and all I can verbalise in return is shallow, far from helpful mutterings on how I love the tone of the language or how cleverly executed a particular narrative reads – essentially, I talk a load of tits!

I know her books are fantastic and what she is offering in each one is utterly absorbing, just like I know how to recognise all that I love and adore in my husband and see beauty in so many facets of our relationship (feck me, I struggled to find the words on that bit and to be honest, I still haven’t written anything romantically profound *tut*)  yet I just cant get beyond that mental blockage that resists any admission of awe or vulnerability that could potentially be used against me or thrown back in my face one day. In short – I’m a fearless fake! An Imposter.   My compliments cistern is more backed up than a bog at a rock festival!

Yoda recently introduced me to a fellow writer friend of hers, which I should have been chuffed to bits about as this lady was friendly, intelligent and offered up lots of writing and marketing advice that, having put in to practise, has worked a treat for me.  Unfortunately though, Yoda never warned me beforehand that her writer friend was joining us. I was caught totally off-guard.  When I told my family about this later, they all did the sucking lemons face and replied “Ohhh… bet that didn’t go down well” or words to that effect.  I’m fine when blokes are introduced to me, but females send me immediately back to high school and my instinctive insecurities punch me in the gut before the first “hello” is even uttered. A well honed act of strong, confident woman rarely presents herself before the initial ‘This chick doesn’t like me, doesn’t want me here, would rather I fecked off’ insecurities kick in, and it always takes me a while to recover.  I am sure the writer friend picked up on my vibes and I no doubt hurt her feelings – all I can say is “It’s not you, it’s me” Imposter Syndrome strikes again!

I have to wonder, since I know I have a husband that adores me, a job that I am pretty good at, a Yoda who believes in me and many friends of both sexes who enjoy my company, why does Imposter Syndrome continue to spout crap on everything I should be patting myself on the back for?  Am I still immature despite my 40 years of breathing?  Am I trying to exist in a self-protective bubble? Am I overthinking everything?  Am I just talking shit? Or, what if maybe, just maybe, everyone feels insecure sometimes, but just doesn’t feel self-indulgent enough to waffle about it on a blog… Hmm.. food for thought!


For links to previous Yoda post, click here

For links to previous Valentines disasters, click here


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