The Impact of Imposter Syndrome on Writers

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: A Guide for Writers

Imposter Syndrome is a common challenge faced by many writers. It manifests as self-doubt and a fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite evidence to the contrary. Even accomplished writers like Agatha Christie and Maya Angelou have admitted to experiencing these feelings. In this article, we will explore the concept of Imposter Syndrome, its impact on writers, and practical steps to overcome it.

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome on Writers

Writers, particularly newbies, can be especially vulnerable to Imposter Syndrome. The perception that only published authors are considered “real” writers can intensify feelings of self-doubt. Even established authors like Maya Angelou have expressed their own struggles with Imposter Syndrome, highlighting that success and recognition do not necessarily alleviate these feelings.

The Effects of Imposter Syndrome on Writers

Imposter Syndrome can hinder a writer’s progress and creativity in several ways:

  • Constant self-critique: Writers experiencing Imposter Syndrome tend to excessively criticise their work, leading to self-editing and a reluctance to share their writing.
  • Excessive self-editing: The fear of being exposed as an imposter may lead writers to spend an excessive amount of time editing their work, hindering their ability to complete projects.
  • Procrastination: The fear of not meeting expectations or being discovered as a fraud can result in procrastination and avoidance of writing tasks.

These effects can prevent writers from fully embracing their craft and inhibiting their growth as storytellers.

Practical Steps to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

While Imposter Syndrome may never fully disappear, there are strategies writers can employ to manage and overcome these feelings of self-doubt. Here are some practical steps to help you:

1. Embrace Your Identity as a Writer

You don’t need external validation to consider yourself a writer. Regardless of publication status, if you write, you are a writer. Shed the label of an ”aspiring writer” and fully embrace your identity as a writer.

2. Reflect on Your Progress

Take a moment to review your body of work and acknowledge how far you’ve come as a writer. Whether you’ve been writing for years or just started, observing your growth and improvement can provide reassurance that you are not a fraud.

3. Connect with Other Writers

Reach out to fellow writers and share your feelings of self-doubt. Discussing your fears with others who have experienced similar struggles can provide a sense of relief and offer new perspectives.

4. Immerse Yourself in Positive Feedback

Focus on the positive feedback you have received for your writing. Celebrate your accomplishments, whether it’s winning a contest or receiving praise from readers. Remind yourself of your abilities and the value your writing brings to others.

5. Develop Resilience to Negative Feedback

Criticism is a part of being a writer! Develop a thick skin and understand that not everyone will appreciate your work (can’t win everybody, and that is okay!). Constructive feedback can help you improve, but don’t let negative comments discourage you from pursuing your passion.

6. Give Yourself Permission to Learn and Grow

Acknowledge that growth as a writer takes time and practice. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no writer starts as a master. Embrace the journey and allow yourself to improve.

7. Keep Writing

Above all, don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you from writing. The more you write, the better you become. Embrace the process and continue honing your skills. Writing consistently is the key to overcoming self-doubt and becoming a more confident writer.


Imposter Syndrome is a common struggle for writers, but it doesn’t have to define your writing journey. Embrace your identity as a writer, reflect on your progress, and connect with fellow writers for support. Focus on positive feedback, develop resilience to criticism, and give yourself permission to learn and grow. Most importantly, keep writing and believe in your abilities. Overcoming Imposter Syndrome is a continuous process, but with perseverance, you can become a more confident and accomplished writer.

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