You know, it's funny how we don't always think about how others see us until something unexpected comes along that shows you that others' impressions of you are completely out of whack with your own idea of yourself. And inside that convoluted thought is a real moment of self-discovery for me.This is going somewhere, I promise . . .
Mostly, I'm speaking as Editor Nan and I have to be honest, I feel a tiny bit more confident speaking from that frame of reference than I do from the author point of view. Yes, I am a writer and yes, I am a published author, but I still struggle with the whole idea of not feeling like a real author because only one of my books is traditionally published. But I can speak to the experience of being an indie author and I'm surprised by how frequently people want to hear about that.
Editor Nan works better for me. I can talk about what copy editors do and how they do it. I can talk with authority about what editors look for, how writers can make their manuscript more polished, and how to present their very best work. (Hint: make sure you find a professional copy editor to give your story a thorough going-over before you submit it or before you put it up yourself.)
All of this is to say that it amazes me that people think of me as an expert about anything. Me! This woman who spends way too much time wondering if she'll ever be accepted by a traditional publisher; who worries all the time about not being smart enough or a good enough writer to ever make it in this crazy field; who often goes weeks without writing a word and stresses that, like Liz said yesterday, she'll never be able to write another word.
As I'm preparing for the library gig later this month, I keep shaking my head and thinking, "holy toledo, these people are coming to hear me talk about publishing!" And although I'm fairly sure I can answer with intelligence and some degree of authority any questions that come up, I still feel slightly like an imposter. I felt the same way when I signed books at Spring Fling and I always feel that way when one of of my darling friends introduces me as, "my author friend, Nan Reinhardt."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome. I'll wait here . . . oh, hi, you're back. Crazy, right? The whole
". . . referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an
inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of
being exposed as a fraud," part is so true of me (well, except for the high-achieving part).
Ah ha! And therein, mes amies, lies the crux of the issue. I don't think of having written and published four novels as "high achieving." I don't regard establishing an editorial services company from the ground up, building an impressive list of clients, and being the copy editor that several world-famous romantic fiction authors ask for by name as anything particularly noteworthy. I don't consider raising a brilliant and highly successful son as an accomplishment. At least, not in myself. If anyone else were to tell me these things about themselves, I'd be impressed as hell. So why do I feel like an imposter when I'm interviewed as an accomplished woman? Do any of you deal with this, too? How do we get over it and start being as impressed with our own accomplishments (without turning into an asshat) as others are?