It's the final stretch for those of you that are writers reading this post and are participating in NaNoWriMo, we are in our last and final week! But you're not counting right? Or are you?
Writers will need to get as many words in as they can this week to reach the goal of 50k by next Monday. Can it be done? Well, come November 30th, 2020, we will see how many in the writing community were able to win this challenge.
I am, on the other hand, struggling to stay afloat. I'm behind on my word count and I’ve been doing writing sprints all weekend to make some kind of dent. Is it helping? Maybe, but there’s no way I can give up now….might as well keep going right?
I’m about 20k words deep, and although I will most definitely rather not meet the goal of 50k, I’m still very much excited to continue writing my story and I’m actually thankful for nano because, it’s the ONLY time of the year when I can get the most writing done in a single month!
Don’t get me wrong, I write throughout the entire year, however, November is the month for me to hunker down and get the words out!
This is something I’m very proud of and if what I've described sounds like you, I'm here to tell you that you should be proud too.
If you’re falling behind on your word count but you have somehow found the courage to still write, pat yourself on the back and celebrate this small win!
It’s not victory, but it is persistence, dedication and drive.
That’s major and you should feel good about all of it!
Many writers get hung up on the word count aspect during nano (me too guys, I get there sometimes and have to remind myself as well!) but Nanowrimo is far more than a daily word count.
NaNoWriMo is about connecting and expanding as a writer. It can be a part of a writer's journey and when it’s all said and done, each writer that participated is able to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and learn more about themselves, not just as a writer, but as a human being.
They may have uncovered some strengths they never knew they had if they didn’t push themselves this month, or they may have had to be realistic about their writing schedule and routine.
Whatever it is, they are becoming better writers for it.
I love National Novel Writing Month, because it pushes me to at minimum, try my best, and if my best in a month can only be 30k words because I’m writing while trying to maintain a household of six people and two cats (because you can’t forget about the cats) then that’s my best and I need to celebrate that!
There’s folks out in this world that wish they can get started with writing, and are not, because they are simply too afraid to do it. And no shade to those individuals, but I’ve past that hump.
I’m not afraid to write. I want to write, in fact, I will continue to, whether I win nano this month or not. I'm still a writer and I believe in me.
That brings me to my next topic in this post, and that's imposter syndrome.
If you know anything about this pesky annoyance, you are well aware how detrimental it is and how unsafe you can be as a writer if you dwell on it.
Imposter syndrome and can be quite sneaky, as a person may not even know that they're experiencing it. Imposter syndrome is in fact a real thing and if we are not careful to nip it in its butt, we will do more damage than good to who we are as writers.
Let’s unpack the term imposter syndrome, for those that are like “Wait, what?” as there are all kinds of definitions explaining it.
First identified by clinical psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes back in 1978.
They describe it as feelings of self-doubt in people who believe that they are not proficient, capable, smart or worthy in something they are doing, even though they have high achievement in doing it.
Imposter syndrome is feelings of dread and/or self-doubt. A person can become convinced that they are not skilled or knowledgeable in their area of expertise (i.e., writing) and will somehow be exposed to the fraud that they really are.
It’s a form of self-sabotage that will eat you whole and even prevent you from doing the thing that you are trying to do.
For writers, the mere act of writing or even actively pursuing a career in writing can lead to imposter syndrome. You could be a best selling author, with six publications a year and still experience this.
It can hit any writer, at any time, and when it hits...it hurts. (Ouch!)
Imposter syndrome will tell you straight up, listen, you’re not good at what you’re doing. Your writing blows, and you know it. Why are you wasting your time?
It reminds you of your failures and fears with writing. It forces you to compare yourself to other writers, sometimes with writers you are unfamiliar with! You compare and continue to compare, putting yourself in some sort of secret competition that only you are aware of and failing at!
Imposter syndrome can manipulate you into believing that your first draft you spent a whole year on, is complete dog poop, and make you give up on it because you’re afraid to get to a second draft and face all the terrible mistakes you made in the first, because well, no one’s gonna read that mess, right?
That’s essentially what it is, and during a month like NaNoWrimo, when writers are dedicated to putting work in, imposter syndrome’s hanging out quietly in the background, lurking and eager for an opportunity to sprinkle its poison all over you! (And watch in contentment as you and your project both wither away!)
I have conversations with imposter syndrome on the regular, as we are not the best of friends. Imposter syndrome tries to do a really good job in getting in my head and slowing me down. I can’t tell you how many times this month alone, imposter syndrome tried to get me to stop writing my project for NaNoWriMo (which, I am still writing at the time of this blog post).
“But you're behind, you’ll never catch up. Look on Instagram, all your writing buddies are beating you. Your story’s no good, no one’s gonna even read it!" This is some of the trickery that I subject myself to. I have to let imposter syndrome know that I’m not entertaining it or its negativity because it’s not helping my story or adding to my word count.
When I do this, imposter syndrome will take a back seat and keep it itself quiet. For the most part.
Writers, if you’re experiencing this form of self-sabotage, know that you are not alone and know that you can overcome it!
You may need to have a pep talk with yourself on more than one occasion, and that’s okay, because imposter syndrome will not stop just because you told it to last week or even today. It will keep coming back, that’s it’s job. So let it do its job, but that doesn’t mean you have to make its job easy.
I have 3 ways to share with you how I fight this pesky annoyance called imposter syndrome: (And these tips can work for you, or it could not, this just what I do to keep the self-doubt at bay.)
#.1 Make use of a journal
Hey, you're a writer, right? So why not put that skill to good use? But not just in the form of a novel or short story. Take it to a journal and write out how you're feeling about what you're writing.
Before and even sometimes after a writing session, I like to write in my journal about my project and how I feel about it. Yes, I do include things such as word counts, but I also write about my progress overall. Did I accomplish my goals during this writing session? Were there any roadblocks? Did I discover something new about myself during the process?
This helps me to see what my strengths and weaknesses were for that particular session and aim to improve or do something entirely different come the next writing session.
Having a journal nearby while you write will help you establish a habit of using it.
#2. Believe in yourself as a writer
Far often as writers, we are the most critical to our own selves. We are the ones beating ourselves up about our writing, when everyone else around us is cheering us on!
Believe in what you have going on as a writer. It is enough. Even if it’s just a few short stories you’ve written over the summer or an unfinished poem that doesn’t make any sense to you at the moment or even a third draft that you're awaiting back from an editor.
Trust in you. Trust in your writing. Trust that you can only grow and learn with each mistake and each project.
Own up to being a writer. You’re not writing to breathe and you can obviously do without it, however, you do it anyway because you enjoy the art.
Even if you’re not that skilled, trust that you can still do it.
Believe in you, because no one else can do that part for you.
#3. Join a writing community
Sometimes, when the going gets tough, all it takes is that one person to root for you and your goals to get you back on your feet.
Our community of writers are filled with some of the most positive and inspiring people I know. They are oozing with motivation and genuine happiness for their fellow writers, and many a part of the community haven't even met their writing buddies in real life, but the support system is real!
Nothing like an Instagram writing buddy you’ve never met, to give you that jolt you need to keep writing!
I saw a post come up in my feed the other day of a writer, that I didn’t know, but she was talking about how she overcame feelings of self-doubt and was able to get through the frustrations and publish her book!
I made a comment under her post that I was proud of her. Now we’re not following each other. Her post just happened to come up in one of the hashtags I follow, but I was captivated by her story, so much so that I felt compelled to congratulate her!
This positive energy can be found all throughout the writing community, people will cheer for you because they genuinely want to see you win. They can relate to the struggle, the frustrations, all of it, they know the pains too well and are eager to offer some support wherever they can. It’s beautiful!
My guess is there's no real fix for imposter syndrome but to bravely challenge it on a regular basis until you begin to feel it less and less and it slowly fades away. - Maureen McCan, Executive Career Strategist
As I continue to grow along my journey as a writer, I may be able to add on to this list, but these are just a few things that helps me combat feelings of self-doubt, and maybe they can help you too.
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? How do you deal with feelings of self-doubt and fraud? Have you been fortunate enough not to experienced these feelings at all? What keeps you focused? Share your thoughts with me and let’s talk about it! Imposter syndrome, how do you overcome it?
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Until next time...
Stay creative! : )