Jan 12 / Anna Adami

Writing Through Imposter Syndrome

Writers are prone, like maybe everyone, to imposter syndrome. To thoughts like, "I've never been published, so I'm not a real writer," "I haven't taken a class in x,y, or z, so I don't know what I'm doing." "I'm faking it." "They only published my work by accident," etc. 

Imposter syndrome feels like self-doubt.

It can manifest as procrastination, paralyzation, overwork, or even self-sabotage. 

I experience it again and again. Especially if I haven't seen the sun in a week. Or if I've recently received rejections.

The great Maya Angelou experienced imposter syndrome, too. "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 everyone and they're gonna find me out," she wrote. 

So how do we keep writing when the doubt is loud?

In Yoga Nidra, we set intentions called sankualpas. We plant them secretly within our consciousness, carrying them with us through our days. Distinctly, a sankulpa is expressed in the present tense. So rather than reflecting on "I want to be a writer," or "I will become a writer," we would phrase it as "I am a writer."

We can be creative with our sankalpas, too. We can dig deeper than the surface of "writer." 

This could sound like: 

"Writing is my gift to the world." Or, "As I write, I honor my ancestors." Or, "My soul calls on me to write and I answer." 

By stating our intention in the present tense, we recognize that we already are all that we aim to be. 

It is as the poet Anis Mojgani wrote: "Will I be something?
Am I something?

And the answer comes,
I already am,
I always was,
and I still have time to be."

When the imposter syndrome creeps up, here are some reflection questions we can turn to: 

1. Why do we write? 
2. Who do we write for? 
3. Are there ways to define success as a writer outside of how we might traditionally do so? 
4. What will we write today? 

Other tools for those experiencing imposter syndrome: 
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