Updated: Mar 20, 2021
Have you heard of Imposter Syndrome? Basically, it’s when someone doubts their worth and doesn’t feel worthy of accolades. They feel like a fraud.
I’m convinced that Imposter Syndrome is a required step in the editing process for all authors. Writing the book stimulates a whole series of feelings in itself but editing has several different phases of it’s very own. At times you feel good about your work, and then you feel everything you wrote is crap, then, perhaps you feel smart again, and then you feel like a complete and utter hack. That last one, that’s imposter syndrome. You feel like someone will come arrest you for impersonating an author.
I was working on implementing some edits I got back from my proofreader recently and I just kept shaking my head and muttering to myself.
“I know that (grammar) rule, why did I type that?” I grumbled. “Why didn’t my spell check pick up on that, even if I didn’t?” and “Oh my gosh, she must think I’m such an idiot.”
I’ve been writing and publishing for more than ten years now. You’d think I would know where a comma goes. Nope. I will never understand those rules. Or maybe it’s that I can’t remember them. My brain simply won’t hold onto the info. Hence, the reason for the proofreader, but it still makes me feel like a big fat fake to see all of the mistakes she found in the manuscript that I thought was “really ready” for publication.
Truth is, no manuscript is ever perfect, even after it has gone through many critiques, revisions, and edits, and I know that. But when I think the story is ready for publication and I get it back with corrections everywhere, it makes me wonder if I should even call myself an author.
Luckily, I know this is just a stage of the overall process. The next time I dive into the book, or give it a final read, I will likely be back to thinking I’m very clever.
My main goal with my writing is to entertain. Do I wish I could produce a perfect book each and every time? Sure. Do I strive to? Absolutely. Do I know it’s unlikely? Yep. Should that make me feel like an imposter? Not on your life.
Amanda Hocking sold millions of copies of her self-published books that were riddled with grammatical errors, missing words, awkward formatting. Readers forgave her over and over again. And bought the next book in the series. I figure even if some of the corrections my proofreader suggested slipped by unnoticed (my eyes are old), I’ll probably be okay. Most readers will forgive me.
What line of work are you in? Do you ever suffer from Imposter Syndrome? Send me an email and let me know how you deal with it.