Why do we doubt ourselves?

I wonder why Imposter syndrome1 is more prevalent in women and minorities than in others? And I think more prevalent in writers as we put our heart on our sleeve and expose our creations to the world and all we expect is criticism.

What is it about us that drives us to think we are not good enough, that we shouldn’t try to achieve such high goals, that someone else is always better than us, prettier than us, more qualified than us. The list could go on and on.

I’m no expert on mental health, as my daughter will be the first to tell you, and here you go, I am going to say it! There are far more qualified folks out there who can advise better than me. But I was thinking about the fact that by the end of this year, I will have published five books in my Sentinal series. FIVE!!!

If that isn’t something to celebrate then what is? Yes the reviews are slow to come in. The sales are not exactly stellar, my Amazon rating is six digits and counting! but I loved every minute of writing them, of editing them, of polishing them as beta readers gave me wonderful feedback along with areas to improve. The covers are beautiful and just resonate with the epic fantasy genre. And I AM PROUD of them. I deserve to call myself an author. A published author at that.

So why do I feel awkward when I call myself an author? as if I am a fraud. I have the proof. The physical books to show I wrote them. How should you measure success? Do you have to hit a certain revenue number, number of books sold, amazon rating, to be a success? Why can’t we accept that writing a book, finishing it, and then publishing it, is a success? Because it really is.

I am about to send the third book of my Sentinal series, Sentinals Justice off to the copy editor and then start biting my nails as I wait for feedback. The cover designer will begin the cover art in a couple of weeks and I am on course to publish in September. I’ve even got some character art for my main characters, Jerrol and Birlerion. I wonder if they are even close to what my readers imagined? Jerrol is above. Isn’t it cool?

So yes, my books have a long way to go before I break even. Profit? Is that a word associated with self-publishing? I have hope. One day. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing. Why? Because I enjoy it. Because I am an author and I’m good at it.

As Megan Dalla Carmina says in her blog post for PsychologyToday.com, “At the end of the day, remember this: You are here for a reason. In this job, your business, your life, you are worthy. You are better than you think you are. You are smarter than you think you are. You know more than you give yourself credit for. Remember that. And remind yourself as often as you need to.”

Notes:

  1. ‘The Reality of Imposter syndrome.’ Megan Dalla Camina, 2018. PsychologyToday.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/real-women/201809/the-reality-imposter-syndrome

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