How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a YA Writer - Uncharted

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a YA Writer

By Riv Begun

Being a writer can come with its share of self doubt, and imposter syndrome is a common problem in the writing community. Today, we’re sharing some tips to overcome imposter syndrome as a YA writer.

First of all, what is imposter syndrome?

 Imposter syndrome is when, even though you’re working hard and succeeding, you still doubt yourself, or think your success is due to luck or an ability to trick others. It’s the feeling that everyone else has their life together or knows what they’re doing, while you’re just pretending.

The good news is you’re not alone. Imposter syndrome is common. Some of your favorite writers have probably felt the same way you do now. 

Even poet Maya Angelou once said, “Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great, I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”  

Imposter syndrome can have a huge impact on your mental health, but it’s possible to manage it so it doesn’t control your life. 

We’ve compiled a list of ways to manage your own imposter syndrome.

  • Celebrate and keep track of your accomplishments.
    • Create a reminder of everything you’ve done so far. If a beta reader has a positive note on your manuscript, or a friend compliments a story you’ve written, save what they’ve said in a folder or document. Make this document easily accessible. You can go back to read it when you’re feeling down. 
  • Make a list of a few things you know you’re good at. Whether that be editing, details, action, or being a good beta reader. Remind yourself of your value. 
  • Imagine success
    • As writers, we spend a lot of time coming up with stories. In this case, coming up with your own story can help manage imposter syndrome. If you start having feelings of self doubt, visualize yourself succeeding at what you’re trying to do.
    • Change the narrative of your failures. Figure out what lessons you can learn from them, and realize that it’s OK to make small mistakes. Everyone makes them. Learn from them, and then focus on what you’re doing well. 
  • Don’t compare
    • Writing isn’t a race. Don’t measure yourself against other writers. Measure yourself against how you did yesterday. Make goals for yourself that don’t have to do with the people around you. Things like word count goals are a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment that only has to do with you. 
  • Talk it out
    • Sometimes being a YA writer can feel lonely. One way to manage your imposter syndrome is to talk about it. Find a writing friend in the same stage as you or a mentor you can develop a relationship with. 
    • Talk it out with yourself. Tell yourself that you’re talented outloud. 
    • Don’t let yourself fall back on excuses. Practice feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished, instead of always excusing your successes with “luck”.

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