No Longer an Imposter – Who I Am to This Writing Life

Starting 2011 digging back into my writing goals, I have an urge to get into my writing files and edit/organize some work to get it circulating for publication options, but also feel a pull to create new work.  The joy is that, for the first time since college, I actually feel like a writer vs. this busy imposter with yearnings and dreams of returning more to my writing, but finding it being relegated to an often abandoned hobby.

I consider myself to be a reformed, chronic non-submitter.  I’ve got a file cabinet neatly organized with poetry, short stories and essays that have either never seen the inside of a submissions envelope or have had limited circulation attempts.  I think what stopped me in the past was partly feeling it was an overwhelming task to properly research suitable markets for my work (not enough time to read all the journals I wanted to) and fear of success (weird one, I know).

The fear of success circular reasoning went something like this: What if I write something strong enough for “them” to accept?  Then it is accepted and people know.  Then folks will be looking for me to instantly be able crank out something else just as good or even better so it is published too.  They’ll be asking me, “What else have you published?” or (gasp) “When are you going to write a book?”  And what if I’m not able to get something else published quickly?  Or ever again?  What if I freeze up and pump out crap?  Then I’ll be this one-and-done failed writer who never gets anything else published.

Of course the twist is that if I don’t submit work on a regular basis, I’ll still be a writer who gets nothing published.  Funny how that works.  Also funny (at least now looking back) is how ingrained the writing gremlins and critic became as they twisted away at my sense of logic and took shots to limit my craft. 

Well no more.  On Saturday, I finished the first draft of a story cranking out the last half during a few overnight hours (oh the thrill when I typed the last sentence).  This week, I’m editing an older piece that needs some tightening before circulating again for submission.  I’m reading one novel on Kindle and a collection of short stories in hard cover format.  And I have the opportunity to review and critique the writing of others both via my writers group and an online course I am taking.  This month I can move towards a balance that abandons my rigid all or nothing approach and become more of the writer I’ve always wanted to be.

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4 Responses to No Longer an Imposter – Who I Am to This Writing Life

  1. Laura Best says:

    I am glad to hear that you plan to become more of the writer you’ve always wanted to be!

    I can relate to some of what you say in your post. Before my book came out I had quite a few short stories published but people were constantly asking if I was writing a book. Kind of made me feel as though having short stories published wasn’t quite good enough. Then once the book came out they wanted to know when the next one was coming. Many of the people who knew me had no idea that I was a writer until the book came along. I kept it to myself most of the time.

    Eventually, we have to own what is ours, and become comfortable with where we are in our writing lives. The best way to get published that I know of( besides writing) is to submit and submit often. If you have talent eventually it will happen. Best of luck!

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks Laura! Yes, I feel like I’m “coming out as a writer” in a sense because I have kept my writing passion and work so close. There are people in my network that are writers, so they know, but I’ve never made a point of wearing it on a cape for everyone to see.

  3. Hartford says:

    Love this post. It felt so good to hear you write about the fear of success. I totally get it and relate and your post made me feel “normal” in my fears – thank you. Love that you are coming into your own as a writer, as defined by what works and fits for you.

  4. Barbara says:

    Yes, getting to verbalize the twisted fear has helped me face why I’ve been holding back and stop my thinking that being a writer is some type of cookie-cutter approach.

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