Imposter Syndrome, in Full Cry

To be a writer is to have imposter syndrome.

It’s not surprising, really.  Our vocation, and often our livelihood, depends upon convincing people whom we will most likely never meet to put credence in things which we have cobbled together out of our experiences and the experiences of others (if we have not, in the case of us genre romancers, made them up out of whole cloth – having first also made up the cloth as well.)  Small wonder, then, that we tend to lie awake in the grey hours before dawn, fretting that this time will be the time when our knack fails us, and the readers will see us for the shameless fakers that we are.

(The Anglo-Saxons had a word for that sort of grim insomnia: uht-ceare, meaning “the care or worry that comes in the period just before dawn,” or as a modern-day shrink might put it, “pre-dawn anxiety.”  Smart people, those Anglo-Saxons.)

This is why literary writers worry that they are writing for a narrow and diminishing audience, and their works will never find the wider recognition that serious writers got in times past; and why writers of popular and genre fiction worry that nobody is ever going to see anything in their work except the surface of it, and all their thematic and, yes, artistic concerns will go forever unnoticed and unappreciated; and all writers, everywhere, worry about money.

(This post brought to you by the short story rejection that arrived in yesterday’s e-mail, and by the concomitant necessity to nerve myself up for picking another potential market and sending it out again.)

One thought on “Imposter Syndrome, in Full Cry

  1. Imposter syndrome – yes indeed! I agree, it is real and this notion that the game is up and we just can’t possibly pull another rabbit out of our collective hats. I’m just coming out of this as I begin serious work on a new novel. It’s a relief – the work helps keep the hounds of self-doubt at bay.

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