I Deal with Imposter Syndrome Daily and I Haven’t Quit Writing Yet


by Meg Dowell


Writing is hard enough. Add imposter syndrome into the mix and it becomes the kind of challenge you have to remind yourself, quite often, is still worth pursuing.

Imposter syndrome is more of psychological phenomenon than an actual syndrome. It is nothing more than a bundle of feelings of inadequacy. But it isn’t just raw self-doubt: these feelings persist even when there’s clear evidence that a person who does not believe they are actually good at what they do is, in fact, very good at what they do.

A student who deals with imposter syndrome may feel he isn’t intelligent even though he has a 4.0 GPA. He might even believe his professors graded too easy or that his classes weren’t challenging.

As you can imagine, dealing with imposter syndrome, as a writer, is pretty much as close to hell as you can get. Yes, I do realize that in admitting I struggle with this, I am simultaneously pointing out that I am a good writer even though, 95% of the time, I don’t believe it. I’m not saying this out of conceit (clearly). I’m just saying that, if I had a formal CV written up, it would contradict my beliefs in my own ability to cram words onto pages and make them sound nice, that’s all.

Every single time I publish something, I’m certain, consciously, that it isn’t any good. AND I DO THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are days I post here and stay off the blog for the rest of the day because I just can’t stand the thought that I’m spewing nonsense onto the internet and potential employers are going to look at it and shake their heads.

Yet I keep doing it. I keep putting myself through this. Why?

Not just because it’s my job, though that’s certainly a factor. I think I do it because, like many writers, I am mentally and emotionally unwell when I do not write. Many days, I write because I have to, whether I feel good about what I’m preparing to publish or not. That isn’t to say I don’t want to write, or that I do not enjoy it. Writing something that no one will ever see is one thing. Writing something potentially thousands of people could see is something completely different.

When I publish, I do not do it for myself. I do it for anyone out there who might be reading. Despite the fact that I usually have a hard time believing it when anyone tells me I’m doing a good job or that I’m a good writer, I still believe that I have important things to say. Log onto any social media platform and you will see there are plenty of people out there who care more about making themselves heard than communicating a message well. In a way, I suppose I’m just like them. I do the best I can. I take a deep breath (literally, before hitting ‘post’ every time) and I send things out into the world. I’ve built a wall around myself when it comes to feedback on my writing. If people don’t like it, I can deal. All that matters to me is that it’s out there and it might help someone someday.

Can we get over these feelings? Yes and no. I think the more we do what makes us afraid or uneasy, the easier it gets. I’m fully aware now that I have this problem and sometimes, writing and publishing things anyway is my way of saying, “Ha ha, brain, I win!” I lack confidence in my expertise and ability as a writer. That does not mean I am not allowed to still write. There will always be things I do keep to myself, even if I do write about them, and that is fine. As long as I do not stop myself from publishing something simply because I do not think it is good.

If you are someone who struggles with these feelings, know that you are not alone. Also know that regardless of how much your doubts tempt you to quit writing, I beg you, don’t let them push you over the edge. This is a very difficult thing to handle, as a writer. Writers need confidence in order to keep going, and daily, this is something that will try to crush your confidence, almost to the point of breaking it forever.

Just keep going. It isn’t always fun. Sometimes there are tears. But the only way to fight it is to do exactly what your brain is trying to tell you not to do. That’s what I’ve found, anyway. What works for me may not work for you. But I hope that you are still able to do what you love anyway.



Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

17 thoughts on “I Deal with Imposter Syndrome Daily and I Haven’t Quit Writing Yet

  1. Ha!Ha! Even my children laugh at my amateur writing style, but I know that there are even worse writers than me .
    Be it wealth or writing everything is comparative. Everything has it’s use in this world. So chill and enjoy writing. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I experience this phenomenon all the time. It hinders me from even getting down to the task of writing. It’s like an incessant nagging voice that says I can’t do a good enough job, or that I don’t have enough to offer. Sometimes, it’s like I believe I can’t accomplish anything decent, in my writing, no matter how many drafts I write. So I either write poorly, and don’t publish, or I write and edit myself so much that the work becomes stilted, and so worse for wear.
    Thanks for writing about this issue. I hadn’t come across it before today. You post has shed light on this issue, and given me the confidence to continue in spite of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on WordyNerdBird and commented:
    I can relate to this post on so many levels. As a writer. As a teacher. As a director.

    I may have proven myself time and time again, but it doesn’t stop that sensation that maybe I’m not any good, nor does it quell the fear that one day someone will expose me or my work as being rubbish.

    Fear isn’t rational.
    Anxiety doesn’t care about track records.
    And Imposter Syndrome is relentless.

    I don’t know why it happens, but I know it plagues creative people and sometimes renders them unable to keep going.

    I haven’t given in to it yet. I don’t ever want to. But my goodness, trying to resist it is tiring.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think all writers feel like imposters, especially when they start out. But whether it’s a case of fake it till you make it or you just come to realise that you have to take the plunge & keep going, we’re all growing along the way.
    I’ve spent years teaching English lit to teenagers, reading their creative writing, offering advice & encouragement. This week is the first time in my life I’ve posted my own work! Feeling brave!
    Great post 👍😀


      1. Yes it is! Its makes it very clear who the author is, and I only reblog half the post. Then I leave a link so that they can go to your blog to read the remainder.

        The point of 20author is to help people in the Blogosphere get free Advertising (Better exposure), and more views so that they’re more encouraged to keep their blogs going strong.


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