It’s our favorite day of the week! That means it’s time to ramble.
Writers are creative people. We’re introspective people. We’re storytellers, liars, and manipulators. Also, we are very sensitive.
To write is to embark on an extremely personal journey. As for me, I’ve had a really rough time opening up and sharing the stuff I write. Sharing is important to gain insightful feedback on my work, but I was way too scared to loosen my death grip on that draft.
Going to college and attending writing classes helped me to share more (because it was mandatory), and gradually, I began to open up. Recently, though, that step in the right direction has brought to light another problem.
When I introduce myself to others, I call myself a writer. We’re supposed to talk ourselves up (because it’s easy to feel down, especially with a project that just isn’t coming together the way you want it to), but it’s hard when you feel like you don’t deserve to be recognized as a “writer.”
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
– Ernest Hemingway
I have always considered myself a writer. I’ve been writing as far back as I can remember. For all I know, I was born with a pen in my hand and a love for side characters and subverted tropes. I recently uncovered my first-ever book that I wrote at the ripe old age of eight, titled The Perfect Puppy, in which a little girl makes the cutest little doggie figurine out of Silly Putty.
one day a little girl who was named rachel. she had a thing of sillypuddy her favorite animal was a dog so she thought that she would make a dog out of her puddy so she did the first time she did not get it so she tried again but she did not do it, what did she do?……………
– The Perfect Puppy (wow, why did I continue writing again?)
Truly, a literary masterpiece.
Stories have always been a huge part of my life, so thinking of myself as a “writer” has never been a problem for me. The problem comes when I start comparing myself to other, more experienced and more talented, writers.
I start to look at my own accomplishments (a few poems published in a college literary magazine, one short published through Amazon KDP, and another short story in an upcoming anthology) and think that they don’t matter.
Even though these accomplishments would make me ecstatic if I were still the little girl who wrote The Perfect Puppy, I feel like I still haven’t gotten anywhere. Like I haven’t gotten any better at writing. Like I don’t deserve to call myself a writer.
I act like a writer. I write. But sometimes, I don’t feel like a “real writer.” When I tell people I’m a writer, why does it feel like I’m putting on a front and trying to fake my way into actually being a writer?
Originally called imposter phenomenon, imposter syndrom, as it’s now called, is commonly understood as a false or sometimes crippling belief that one’s successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill.
Whenever I feel like this, I turn into my own hype-man. So, you feel like you’re tricking people into thinking you’re a writer? Well, what would you do if you were a writer?
Answer: I would write.
Do you write perfect drafts, whole chapters every day, no plot holes? No! Writers don’t have to be perfect. Writers write. That’s the most important thing. As long as I write, I tell myself, then I’m a writer.
It doesn’t matter what you call it, really! You could refer to yourself as a “storyteller,” “word-wrangler,” “master manipulator,” “character-killer,” “language god”…the list goes on!
I’m not a psychologist or anything. But whenever I start to feel like I don’t deserve to call myself what I am (a writer is not something I pretend to be, like some weirdly plain Halloween costume…although, that would be a great idea for a minimum-effort, last-minute costume idea), I stop and remind myself…
…of the plot of The Perfect Puppy. (Yes, it turns out that my embarrassingly incoherent childhood ramblings actually do have something to do with my embarrassingly incoherent adulthood ramblings! Who knew?)
what did she do?…………….
she tried again she did not do it she did a big gral! GRRRR! she tried again and again and again it did not work…………….
she tried again and again and again and again and again again again again again and she did not do it…………..
she tried one more time she finally did it
– The Perfect Puppy, (I sure loved the word “again”)
When I put my mind to something, be it writing a book or a short story or a poem, I try with all my might and I never stop writing until…well, until always, because I’ll never stop writing. That’s one thing I can be sure of, even when I’m unsure if I’m a good enough writer to deserve the little good things that have come my way.
No: the little good things that I’ve earned.
Maybe it’s premature to ramble about imposter syndrome. After all, my dream of being a published novelist hasn’t yet come true. But no matter how small the step toward that dream, there will always be roadblocks along the way, and at the time, they seem larger than life.
So, it pays to keep trying. It’s worth it to keep writing. And every time I finish a story or get stuck on a difficult plot point, and that feeling of not belonging creeps up from behind, I do what I always do: start writing.
Again. Again. Again, again, again, again, again…until always.
So, let this be a lesson to you, kids: Keep doing the things you love. Keep a positive outlook and never lose that part of you that needs to learn more. Write, write, write! You know you want to. And as long as you write, you are a writer. No matter what anyone else says, no matter what you tell yourself, you are a writer. Keep writing until that feeling of being an imposter belly-crawls toward you and then say, “Let’s go again.”