10 tips to combat imposter syndrome

Image Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Recently, I posted a list of Twitter tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome, which I’ve struggled with all my life. As they seemed to go down so well, I thought I’d collect them here so you can easily refer back to them.

I hope they help!  

1. Remember you’re not alone. Just about every writer suffers from imposter syndrome from time to time, no matter how experienced they are. I’ve been writing professionally for over 20 years. Do I suffer from it? Yes. More often than not, actually.

2. Take a break. Walk away from your screen/notebook/whatever even if it’s only for five minutes. Remove yourself from the pressure. Make a cup of tea. Go for a walk. Stroke a guinea pig. Do something different. Breathe.

3. Remind yourself of your accomplishments. If you’re published, look at your past work. See that yes, you can do this! If you’re not published yet, dig out some work you’re particularly proud of, or people enjoyed. Read it again. Remember why you were pleased with it.

4. Keep a praise file. This sounds really egotistical but it helps. If someone’s praised you through an email/twitter/whatever, file it away so you can glance at it at moments of doubt. Again, it’s a case of reminding yourself that you can do this and people do like your stuff.

(4b. You don’t have to call it a praise file, if that feels too much. Maybe it’s your ‘I’ve got this’ file, or the ‘look, I’m not a complete fraud’ file.)

5. Turn off social media. The last thing you need is to compare yourself to others. Allow yourself time on your own so you’re not just scrolling through what everyone else is doing and feeling bad/rubbish/jealous.

6. Get yourself a theme tune. This sounds silly, but it works. When I feel nervous or unsure of myself I play my favourite song: ‘Don’t stop me now.’ I can’t help but feel pumped when listening to it. I also pretend to be Freddie while listening, but this isn’t for everyone.

7. Don’t expect to get everything right first time. No-one is expecting you to be perfect all the time. (Okay, no-one but yourself!) Allow yourself to make mistakes. Mistakes are good, because they can be fixed. And fixing stuff makes you feel good.

8. Celebrate your imposter syndrome. If you’re feeling out of your depth, it’s probably because you’re pushing yourself to swim further than you have before. That’s a great thing, so congratulate yourself.

9. Remember, a little self-doubt is healthy. It stops you becoming an egotistical maniac. It’s also a reminder that all of us are always learning. And that’s a good thing. The best thing. Keep learning!

10. Talk to people. Find a friend, someone you trust, and tell them how you’re feeling. A problem shared and all that. And then, importantly, listen to them, allow yourself to hear that your fears are unfounded.

Be the first to comment

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.