Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Am I an Imposter?

“Believe in the quality of your work and the value of your message and at the same time, recognize surprises always happen in publishing.”

If you scroll down on the left of the screen, you will see that this is today’s writing quote. Well, I don’t know about the publishing part, but it’s still a timely quote because yesterday over at The Writer Mama, she discussed a topic similar to believing in yourself as a writer. It’s hard to fathom, but even the most accomplished writers do not believe in their abilities.

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’”

These are the words of Maya Angelou. Can you believe it? Maya Angelou whose powerful and influential words have impacted people all over the world. She is beyond great—a truly amazing woman and writer! Who would ever think she doubts her skills?

Oh believe me, I can relate. I often wonder how much longer I can keep pulling this writing thing off. But I am not Maya Angelou. I have not achieved her level of success.

Thanks to Christina Katz, I now know there is a name for this phenomenon. It is called the Impostor Syndrome and is basically the feeling that you are not as good at something as others perceive you to be—despite major successes and accomplishments. Instead you attribute your achievements to an ability to “fake it,” luck, or you simply minimize your accomplishments as not that great.

Many famous writers, as well as other occupation holders, question their skills and abilities. In light of that fact, Christina Katz suggests we list words that describe ourselves. In celebration of who I am—and the fact that I might have just a tinge of this Impostor Syndrome—I will list a few words that I think describe who I am.

Gifted (I truly believe we are all)

We all have the same emotions, and similar insecurities. It’s a part of what connects us, and of what makes us who we are as human beings. Allow yourself to rejoice in who you are--as human beings and writers. I’d love to see some of you come up with your own list. Perhaps it may give you a fresh sense of confidence, allowing you to tackle your writing with abandon and renewed gusto.

Until next time, take care!


Mihaela Lica said...

Hm... (Sometimes I begin with "hm" for no particular reason - maybe to have enough time to think?)

Add truth to your list. I know you wrote "sincere" but I know many liars who really believe in what they say. They lie sincerely (if you can imagine something like that!)

Why should you add truth to that list? Because you were not describing yourself there. You've managed to portray the very essence of a writer's soul.

See how special you are?

Lisa Vella said...

Mihaela Lica,

Wow! I am so flattered! If you were to make a list, encourager would be at the top of yours--among many other wonderful adjectives! I love to write, and I can only hope that you are right! Thank you for your kind words. You are special too!

Have a wonderful day!


Irreverent Freelancer said...

What a great self-exploratory exercise! I think making a list like this is beneficial to ALL people, regardless of their occupation. I will have to give it a whirl soon.

sylvia c. said...

Great list.

I see a lot of people struggling with that "imposter" issue.

The fact of the matter is, I have a lot of "gumption."

I'm actually writing about that at my blog today!

Trust that instinct, girl!

Thanks Lisa!


Sylvia C.

Lisa Vella said...

Kathy, I'm glad you enjoyed my post, and I hope you will share your list with us!

Sylvia, I don't doubt you have lots of gumption - a critical element to writing success!

Thanks for reading, ladies!

Have a nice day!