I still have Imposter Syndrome. I'm 43, with five published books.
I'm starting a new business venture: taking my teaching about writing into an online space. Amongst other things, I'm setting up a course designed to walk people through the process of writing their memoir. I'm adding a new website and blog, and even some videos for a YouTube channel. In time, I'll get to a fiction course and other writing courses too.
Sounds like fun, right? You'd think so.
But as I'm doing it, I'm battling hard against Imposter Syndrome. That's that little voice in my head which says, "You don't know enough to do this. You're a pretender. You're not a real writer/teacher/memoir expert. You're going to look crap on YouTube. After all, you're old, and also slightly fat. Occasionally you have hairs on your chin. People will see those, you know. And anyway, what do you know about filming or lighting or video editing?"
Self-doubt, self-doubt, self-doubt.
What a hassle it is. And what a battle it can be to fight it.
I have to keep correcting my thoughts:
"You don't have a degree or any qualifications in memoir writing." Well, I wrote a memoir that won an award. And I've edited lots of memoirs since then.
"You're not a teacher. You don't know how to run a course." Well, I've done it before, in person, for adults and kids. And people said they learned a lot.
"No-one will want to write a memoir using your course." Well, people seem to hire me to help them write their books. And they say that I make things clear and easy for them.
It's ridiculous, really. I can expect that you'd get Imposter Syndrome when you're younger, and you actually don't know a lot about things. But in my middle age, I'd expect it to be at least a bit quieter in my head. It's not like I'm trying to start up something totally foreign to me, either. I dont know... say, a finance company, or a catering service. Or something about Sino-Australian relations. I've been in this writing-editing area of work for years now. And I've started different ventures (some of which have been at least slightly successful).
I've been attempting to beat my Imposter Syndrome into submission by taking a big picture view of all of this. There are billions of people in the world out there, right? So, there must be at least a couple of hundred of them who would like to write a memoir, who've never done any writing before, who speak English, and who think 'an online course is just the thing for me'.
Basically, there must be a few people who'd benefit from what I have to say.
The other way I'm beating it is by just ignoring it, and getting on with the small daily steps of putting all of this together. And there are a lot of tasks. By the time it's all done and ready to go, perhaps my Imposter Syndrome voice will have piped down a bit.
And there's one more thought. Perhaps, after all, my Imposter Syndrome voice is just the bit of me that's scared. Perhaps it just wants to protect me from failing, and getting hurt and a bit embarrassed. I'll listen for a moment, if that's the case, but then I'll also reassure it: it's okay. We're okay. We can do this. And if we can't, well, that's okay too.
But let's at least try.