“As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.” — Neil Gaiman
I’ve got it again. You know, that thing you get when things are going well and people ask for stuff and if you give it to them your dreams might come true? Yes. Imposter syndrome. I’ve got it in spades.
It took a friend to diagnose it. All I knew was that I felt like crap. I felt like there was sludge in my veins and no ideas would come. I felt scattered too all at the same time. I was a spinning slug. Tears filled my eyes as I told my friend that a publisher had expressed interest in my book, Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two. But I had to send an email with additional marketing information and I had to send it that day. And my mind said, “Nope. You can’t do this. It’s too hard.” And worse, “You’re not worthy. Why would they want your work?” I felt like a fraud.
This is not the first time I’ve encountered imposter syndrome. The entire decade I practiced law, despite having huge successes in many cases, bringing in lots of money for the firm, and eventually being asked to become a partner, I kept waiting for them to figure out I had no idea what I was doing. And even though the feeling is familiar once I recognize it, that initial jolt always blindsides me.
I wonder if imposter syndrome is peculiar to women or perhaps to writers or artists in general. I wonder if it’s worse when you’re already bipolar with a general slant toward the depressive mindset. But this newsletter has to go out today. I’ll let you research those things.
Thankfully, once I knew what it was, the solution was obvious. Suit up and show up. Bring the body and the mind will follow. Do the work.
And so I did.
And now the email has been sent and the newsletter (including this essay) is in process and tomorrow there will be the monthly bills and the rest of the taxes and whatever reminders come up on the manuscript submission tickler system and more of the same on the next day and the next.
Meanwhile, I wait. I hope, and always, I work.