Real Writers

Imposter Syndrome – insidious isn’t it?

I posted on Twitter that I wasn’t feeling like a ‘real writer’ so was pondering a post on imposter syndrome and got some nice advice from the lovely people of Twitter.

More than one person sent me this:

The lovely Frances Hardinge who I once had the pleasure of interviewing replied with this:

And a number of people reassured me that I was in fact a writer

Which was lovely.

But why do we suffer from Imposter’s Syndrome? There’s a LOT of info out there and some nice stories from many famous people who have suffered themselves from imposter syndrome. I like Neil Gaiman’s story for example.

But the feeling persists. But it’s comforting to know that it’s usual. My ‘Pete W Sutton’ Bookshelf has around 30 books on it – 2 novels, 1 short story collection, several books I’ve edited and comp copies of anthologies I have stories in. I need to remind myself of that occasionally. There does seem to be a link between writing and what some people call Brain Weasels and I’d love to know if it’s correlation or causation. But absent an answer I’ll just have to learn to fight them off!

drop me a comment if you’ve suffered from Imposter Syndrome and how you’ve defeated it (or need a cheerleader to help you fight it)

Published by suttope

Pete W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

4 thoughts on “Real Writers

  1. Constantly. I keep thinking ‘if I were a *real* writer I’d be earning a living at it by now’, despite knowing that many writers I regard as far more successful than myself still have day jobs/other income sources.


    1. There is always someone to envy. Back when I was a teenager and learning karate my instructor said that there is always someone stronger than you, or faster than you, or better so you can only measure yourself against yourself and just try to be better than yourself last week, last month or last year. Good advice I think.


  2. Having that shelf is a good idea, I do that too.
    I think you need to think about your own definitions of success, and not what other people or the business is telling you. You might not meet them all yet, but they are -your- definitions and that’s important.
    I also like to think imposter syndrome is the opposite of complacency, and as long as it is not paralysing you it’s maybe quite useful from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d like to think I am a real writer, having written for a living for eight years now, but I still think I’m fake for some weird reason.

    I used to think I was fake because I didn’t write fiction. And once I did, I thought I was fake because I wasn’t published. And now that’s in the works, I think I’m fake because my story is made up of a sorry excuse of a plot. It never ends.

    I think I’ll just make do with having crippling impostor syndrome.

    Liked by 1 person

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