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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Crowley

Imposter Syndrome

I don’t have imposter syndrome. What I have is afraid I’m about to be pushed out of the airlock for being The Imposter syndrome. I think my concern is justified, really: after all it took at least four attempts to convince Goodreads that I really was myself, even with photographic evidence. By the fourth attempt I really wasn't sure I should keep trying: I mean, who was I to argue with Goodreads? Not me, that was for sure.

I still think the only reason that it worked the last time was that I had my husband hovering over my shoulder watching me fill in their form: everyone knows that computer-based problems disappear as soon as you get Tech Support involved.

But in all seriousness, I may suffer from imposter syndrome.

I suspect all writers do, actually. How could we not? The words we write upon the page - or rather, these days, the screen - can never quite live up to the perfect, shining images that existed inside our heads. Even if we transcribe exactly what we imagined a character saying, if we quote ourselves word for word, it will never be quite as fresh, as witty, or as powerful as when we heard it first, safe in the chambers of our own minds.

Still, despite my misgivings I finished my book and showed it to a few people who I could trust to be mostly honest. And they said they liked it. So I published it. Or at least I edited it, and polished it, and fiddled with the dialogue, made half a dozen unnecessary changes then changed them back again, and finally uploaded the finished book to Kindle Direct Publishing. I filled in all the required information, checked the previews, set a price, and finally I had just one button to push before my book would be available to the world. I didn’t push it. Of course I didn’t. I was still sitting there, whimpering quietly, telling myself to just push the stupid button when my eldest daughter came downstairs and noticed me trembling. “Are you alright, Mummy?” she asked. “Well,” said I; “we’ve just clarified that if it comes to a choice between throwing up on my laptop, your daddy’s laptop, or your daddy, I should choose Daddy because at least I can put him in the shower.” “That means no, doesn’t it?” I agreed that yes, she was very observant and that did indeed mean no so, having ascertained that there was nothing else that I needed, she went back to bed and I went back to my palpitations. And while I was busy palpitating, my husband leant over my shoulder and pushed the button. I’m glad he did. Partly because if he hadn’t I’d probably still be sitting there, but also because, really and truly, it’s a pretty good book. Or so I’m told. The point of all this, is that sometimes it’s easy to convince yourself not to do the thing you want to do, or to tell yourself that you’re just not ready, you’re not good enough, you’ll never get anywhere so why risk the disappointment? More specifically the point is that you should ignore all of that, stop listening to your negative self, and just do whatever it is that you’ve been telling yourself you shouldn’t do. You might find yourself achieving something incredible. Unless the thing you’ve been telling yourself not to do is jumping off the roof and flapping your arms really really hard so that you fly. You can’t fly and you’ll probably end up in the hospital. While you’re there, with your arms and legs in plaster, rigged up to one of those traction contraptions you always see in cartoons, get someone to read you The Vicar man.

I’m told it’s good.

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