It's an odd, guilty feeling. You've written a book or two, several even - an accomplishment that you have every right to feel proud of. And it seems that the more you promote, network with other authors, receive more reviews, self-doubt seeps into your psyche. What if I am not as good as I think I am? Somehow you convince yourself that joining the ranks of authors whom you admire is something that you -YOU- do not deserve.. That sense of joy and excitement that comes with clicking "Publish" button on your KDP account dissipates and is replaced with anxiety.
Let's take a look at the definition of Imposter Syndrome. Wikipedia's definition of this experience is as follows: "Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck or the Matthew effect, for example, or they incorrectly interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. Impostor syndrome also occurs in normal human-to-human relationships. Based on this syndrome, continuing doubts about people and individual defense mechanisms are considered difficult to achieve healthy relationships. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally." (Impostor syndrome - Wikipedia)
I believe every author will find themselves at this particular crossroad. Trust me, when I say I am no stranger to Imposter Syndrome. Many a night I've struggled with reconnecting with my truth as a writer. I have suffered from paralyzing anxiety at the thought of opening up my laptop and finishing a chapter because its easier to convince myself that my work is not worth reading and there are so many authors out there that are better than me. But as I said before, how you view yourself as an individual, will affect how you see yourself as a writer. Recognizing your own talent, acknowledging the power of your creative voice comes with knowing that on a soul level, you are dope. You are amazing.
And thankfully, those are things that I am happily addressing in therapy. Slowly, I am realigning with myself creatively. Yet, despite these crippling moments, I keep in mind how much peace writing brings me and most importantly how unfair it would be to keep the characters in my head contained and never allowing them the freedom that they deserve.
And one more thing, remind yourself that your voice is unique and regardless of skill/talent, no one can tell YOUR stories. You are a creator in your own right.
You are the MAGIC...
Until next time...