Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Strategies for Coping as a Writer by Jessica Majewski

Imposter syndrome is a common experience among writers, characterized by feelings of self-doubt and insecurity about one's abilities. This can lead to procrastination, writer's block, and a lack of confidence in one's work. However, there are strategies that can be used to overcome imposter syndrome and become a more confident and successful writer. In this article, we will explore some of these strategies and provide practical tips for coping with imposter syndrome as a writer.

Defining imposter syndrome and its prevalence in the writing community

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual feels like a fraud despite their accomplishments. It is often accompanied by feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and inadequacy. It is prevalent in the writing community, with many writers struggling to shake off the feeling that they don't belong or are not good enough.

 The impact of imposter syndrome on self-esteem and productivity

Imposter syndrome can have a significant impact on a writer's self-esteem and productivity. When a writer feels like a fraud, it can be difficult to produce work that they are proud of. This can lead to procrastination, writer's block, and a lack of confidence in one's abilities. It can also lead to a lack of productivity as the writer may be too self-conscious to put their work out into the world.

Identifying and challenging negative thoughts

Imposter syndrome often manifests as negative thoughts and self-talk, such as "I'm not good enough" or "I don't know what I'm doing". Recognizing these thoughts and challenging them is the first step to overcoming imposter syndrome. For example, instead of saying "I'm not good enough", try saying "I am a capable and experienced writer and I will continue to improve with practice."

Building confidence through small goals and achievements

Another strategy for coping with imposter syndrome is to set small goals and celebrate your achievements. These goals can be simple and specific, such as writing for 30 minutes a day, the initial plan of your story,  or submitting a piece of writing for publication. Celebrating your achievements, no matter how small, can help to build your confidence and remind you of your accomplishments.

 Seeking support from peers, mentors, and therapy

It's important to seek support from peers, mentors, and therapy. Joining a writing group or workshop can provide you with a safe and supportive environment where you can share your work, receive feedback, and connect with other writers who are going through similar experiences. Talking to a therapist can also be helpful in identifying the underlying cause of imposter syndrome and developing coping strategies.

Real-life examples of successful writers who have overcome imposter syndrome

Many successful writers have overcome imposter syndrome. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, and Neil Gaiman are just a few examples of writers who have struggled with imposter syndrome but have found success in their careers. It's important to remember that you're not alone in your struggles and that many successful writers have been in the same position.

Mindfulness and self-compassion in overcoming imposter syndrome

Mindfulness and self-compassion can be powerful tools in overcoming imposter syndrome. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and journaling can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and to respond to them in a more compassionate and non-judgmental way. Self-compassion also plays an important role in overcoming imposter syndrome by allowing you to be kind and understanding towards yourself, rather than being overly critical.

Taking action to overcome imposter syndrome

It's important to remember that imposter syndrome is not a permanent state and it can be overcome. However, you need to take action and not let it hold you back. This could be something as simple as setting small goals and celebrating your achievements, or something more significant like submitting your work for publication or applying for a writing grant. 


The key is to take action and not let fear and self-doubt hold you back from reaching your goals.


Imposter syndrome is a common experience among writers, but it is not insurmountable. By recognizing and challenging negative thoughts, seeking out validation and feedback, embracing the writing process, and surrounding yourself with a supportive community, you can overcome imposter syndrome and become a more confident and successful writer. 


Remember, writing is a journey and each step, whether it's a rough draft or a polished manuscript, is an important part of that journey. 


It is also important to remember the importance of self-compassion and resilience in the face of imposter syndrome. You are not alone in your struggles and many successful writers have been in the same position. 


With the right strategies and support, you can overcome imposter syndrome and reach your full potential as a writer.



Jessica Majewski is the editor-in-chief at
whenyouwrite.com. Her journey began as an avid book reader, but after reading one too many romance novels, she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories.


With her passion for literature and storytelling, she quickly realized her true calling was in creating her own content


She shares her experiences in hopes of inspiring more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world. As a writer, publisher, and editor, she is dedicated to providing a platform for new and established voices in the literary world.



Elizabeth Seckman said...

Those are some great tips, though as I was reading them I was wondering...is it imposter syndrome if you haven't yet achieved anything and maybe I do stink at writing and am telling myself it's just imposter syndrome as an excuse?

Yeah, the small goals, small steps...that's where I need to focus. Thank you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've always been a big believer in setting small goals.

PT Dilloway said...

Those are some good tips. Of course the best way to avoid imposter syndrome is to never achieve anything. ;-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Jessica!

Pat, that's funny.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - a helpful guest post from Jessica - we all have to start somewhere ... cheers Hilary