Imposter Syndrome

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I had never heard the term imposter syndrome until recently. Admittedly, I was on a huge high after self-publishing my first novel in January and receiving such great feedback from family and friends. My mood was heightened even more when I started getting fantastic reviews from strangers. My lockdown was spent writing, and many others had the time to catch up on their reading, which was certainly to my benefit.

I self-published book number two at the beginning of May and, while it is getting great reviews as well, the momentum doesn’t have the same feel as the first book did. After Googling trends about book publishing, the general consensus was book sales dip as Spring begins springing and doing outdoor activities seem more appealing after spending the colder months indoors. That compounded with the end of the stay-at-home orders should be enough to make my brain understand it will take a bit more time for my second novel to gain some traction, even though it is selling well locally and people are enjoying it even more than my first book.

But my brain did not buy into my logic. It went into self-deprecation mode, and I found myself feeling like I was merely posing as a writer. Thankfully, I have a solid group of connections who are willing to play Cher to my Nicholas Cage and deliver a well-timed slap to my face, Moonstruck style, circa 1987.

After having added 800 new words last night to the fourth book in my series, I am back on track. The handprint is still visible on my cheek, but I seem to have come to my senses and reminded myself that I have talent as a writer. They should make pills for this.

Have you ever been a victim of Imposter Syndrome?

I can’t remember which hat to put on…

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Multi-tasking is an artform. We all do it, to some extent, and we have all inevitably experienced the moment when we are unsure of what particular task should be given our full attention.

In my work life, juggling several duties at once has always come naturally. I assumed when I entered Hotel and Restaurant Management in college, there were subliminal messages in all my classes that programmed my brain to be able to solve many problems at the same time.

Being a writer, and becoming an author, presented a new set of challenges that I was ill-prepared to comprehend. Without an agent or a publishing company to look after all the facets of putting a book out into the world, my brain had suddenly become congested with the many roles I would have to play in the debut performance of me claiming my status as an author.

My thinking cap has always been a great fit. My writing chapeau took a few adjustments to make it fit properly. But my editing sombrero, and my marketing helmet both needed several adjustments before I could put one foot in front of the other without losing my headgear completely.

While the learning curves on this writing roller coaster have been enjoyable, there are still days I am unsure which hat I should be wearing, but I am thankful for the intervals that allow me a quick costume change. And, scene.

These three days

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Today is the still day, the day I hold my breath and try to fathom how seven years could have passed since my mother died. I vividly recall trying to catch my breath after hearing the news at 7:00 am, swinging my legs over the side of my bed and letting myself sob while the call was still active. The poor woman on the other end of the phone was so lovely and she let me cry until I was able to pull myself together. The hours that followed were a blur. They were filled with emotional embraces with my brother and his family, endless phone calls and the inevitable trip to the funeral home. Many days it feels like it happened yesterday. Today is one of those days.

Tomorrow is the bridge day, the day I allow myself the time to rest and let the well of emotion refill before I have to dip into it again. These three days are saturated with a blend of melancholy and tears, but they are also filled with a joy that is hard to describe as my family and I share the stories that will always make us laugh and still feel loved by those we have lost.

The following day is another serene day. It is the calendar day my father passed away fifteen years ago. Regardless of the weather, March always comes in like a lion for me. And although it is the month I came into this world many years ago, the beginning of March will always be stained with a sadness I am unable to remove. Two of the most important people in my life were taken away, and these three days in the month of March always deliver a swift punch to my gut.

As I recover from the annual blow, I will remember how much I was loved. I will fall back on the memories of their laughter and the fun we used to have. And I will take solace in the fact they would be overwhelmingly proud of me for pursuing my dream to have a published novel, with more on the way. Their smiles will be the light in these three days.

I’m not sure when they started knocking, but they’re back

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The voices in my head, those distant sounds of characters waiting to develop themselves, have returned. They had been quelled by the busy season at work but they have since insinuated themselves back into my daily life and to say I have missed them would be a gross understatement.

Summer is my busiest time and there have not been many days through any period of June through September I have been able to harness that creativity. I got home from work after a busy Saturday changeover and there they were, ready to speak, and I was ready to listen. God, how I have missed this feeling. I have longed for those voices to speak loudly enough that I could not ignore their persistence. And now here they are, summoning me to join them on the journey they want me to document for them as I write my second book.

And, as much as I love them, my fear of them is what makes this journey so invigorating. They are bold, they have depth and sometimes they scare me. But they are speaking for themselves, willing me to open myself enough to understand their passion and apprehension and have me follow them on their pilgrimage.

This is writing. This is giving in to a force bigger than yourself and allowing the voices to tell you what they want to say. It is not creating a story, it is listening to their story and telling it, for them, in the best way you can.

 

 

You can’t win if you don’t play

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While this subject line generally makes me think of the lottery pool, it has taken on a much bigger meaning for me today.  I’m sure I have made you all painfully aware of the fact that I finally finished writing my first novel.  Book number two is in the works and the idea for number three is a shimmering light in the distance.

I thought that the actual writing of the book was going to be the hardest part.  And while it was a painstaking process, never having attempted to write a book before, the writing itself was a reward.  The hardest part is convincing yourself that someone else may find your words exciting enough to take you on as a client and help to get you published.

I spent my day off today, a beautiful, sunny day, bound to my couch to finish editing my book for grammatical oversights and story continuity.  I was just as excited to read the ending as if I were a first time reader and that got me even more excited.  I was excited enough to send my first two query emails to potential agents…..and now I feel nauseous.

But like that lottery pool, you can’t win if you don’t play.  I will never get published if I don’t try, and according to Yoda, there is no try, only do.  So I did.

Now I can only hope that some unsuspecting agent finds an email from a small town Canadian girl with big ideas and gets just as excited to read it as I was to write it.