Write The Damn Book: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

I wrote a book. A book of poetry, nonetheless.

For me, the process of writing itself was probably the easiest part.

It was overcoming imposter syndrome that hit me like a ton of bricks. Every time I thought about actually putting my writing *out there*, part of me wanted to retire my pen and paper (or keyboard) and never create anything again.

It had been a bucket list item for me to write and publish my own book. I originally aimed for, “before I turn 25!”… which eventually turned into, “before I turn 30!”… so, here I am at 27, still in slight disbelief that my book is available!

I had envisioned what it would be like many times over; I’d propose my manuscript to TONS of publishing companies and I had two scenarios played out in my head:

Scenario 1: They would all LOVE it, want it, need it. It would be a painless process, for once my writing was done, fame would overcome me- the next Rupi Kaur. In a quick and painless flash, I would be a full time writer!

Scenario 2: I would get laughed at, scoffed at. No one would entertain page two, after they read page one. My writing is abysmal, why would I ever think I am capable of producing words that people would actually like?!?!

So, as any anxious person would make themselves believe- those were the ONLY two possibilities. I had a 50/50 chance of this either being the best thing EVER, or my dreams would die quickly. In my mind there was zero room for an in-between result.

Fast forward (or rewind back) to Spring 2020 (sorry if this time period brings back some PTSD- I feel ya).

I had been talking to a retired publisher and as I imagined many publishers would be, she was brutally honest- although in a kind way. “This might not be the right time for you to publish through a big company. Many offices are slightly on hold with taking on new clients or authors due to COVID-19. You might want to think about self publishing, especially just to get this first pitch out there!”

I wasn’t hurt nor surprised, but also not elated about her suggestion. It made sense, but her suggestion terrified me.

Self publish. Only fake writers self publish. Only people who can’t catch the eye of a big publishing company self publish. Only bad writers self publish.

But as time went on and I began solidifying and finishing the entirety of my manuscript, I felt like if I didn’t just take the leap, then I never would. “Why the hell not?! Get it over with!” These words seemed to creep into my bloodstream as the tumultuous year of 2020 knocked so much uncertainty into my life as it was, why not just drop the cherry on top? Do the damn thing.

So, to save you from the details of researching the best ways to publish, I narrowed in on Kindle Direct Publishing and B & N Press. Both options, although not *easy*, have been simple enough, and if anything, a great learning opportunity.

Designing and creating my book cover? Truly the most infuriating part. My hats go off to all the designers and artists out there.

So, I worked a lot. Self publishing meant self editing- and as a full time high school English teacher, it felt weird to wear the hat of a teacher and student at the same time. I was blessed to have friends be my eyes when I could not longer catch error. I have many to thank for helping with the final edits.

I was ready to publish. I was ready to make it available. I was beginning to have the mindset of, “I don’t even care if zero people buy this damn book, let me be finished.”

So, BAM! It eventually was out there. I was excited, it was real. I was tangibly holding my FIRST BOOK in my hands. “It Will Always Be A Cage” by Mari Monroe.

Then an even harder BAM hit me.

Who was I to publish a book? Who was I to think my writing was even remotely interesting? Who was I to even consider myself a writer!! Hello, imposter syndrome- I guess you were tucked away in my back pocket, waiting for a sunny day to finally make your appearance.

My mind began to spin- what if people buy this book and think it is absolute SHIT? Then when I write my second, third, fourth book.. no one buys?! What if this book instantly turns me into a laughing stock of the writing world?!

After a few deep breaths, maybe a few tears, and a few phone calls- I began to, slowly, see things more clearly.

This is the risk you take as someone who creates. The risk of knowing some people will NOT like what you create. Maybe some people will laugh at you. The adult bullies of the world might find their source of validation in aiming to tear you down.

But, some people might love it. Some people will resonate so strongly with what you gave the world, that they tell a friend.

And regardless of how people receive my words, I still have some of the most loving and supportive people in my life. They still love ME. My worth is not defined by the ‘success’ of my first book.

I decided to put my value into the fact that I DID IT, rather than only valuing the outcome of how it is received.

So to everyone who has been buying, sharing, loving, and supporting- truly, deeply, thank you.

As I mention in the first pages of the book:

“This book might not be for everyone.

But it might be for someone.

That is enough.”

So if you are sitting here, still reading this… Just go do it. You have my full support to kick imposter syndrome to the curb. Decide that you are good enough to do it because you are trying. Trying will always beat sitting it out.

I personally can’t wait to see what you create!

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