Do You Have Impostor Syndrome?
Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
One of my favorite parts of being an agent is when I get to celebrate the sale of a client’s project to a dream publisher. Usually this comes after many months (or years) of working with the author on the manuscript.
Sometimes I know the moment I first read it that it’s something special. But in many cases, the manuscript isn’t ready to send out to publishers. I might ask the author to take some time to polish the manuscript, while also working to build their platform. This kind of approach requires both author and agent to be patient—and trust that the slower road is the right one.
It’s risky to ask a client to be patient, and to trust that we’ll find the right timing to give their project the best chance for success. I might have moments of worry. What if I’m wrong? What if this long wait doesn’t pay off for my client?
Who am I, anyway, to be advising anyone about anything? What do I know?
Yes, every now and then, I spend a few minutes mired in Impostor Syndrome. In fact, I think many professionals do. And I’d bet most writers do too.
Impostor Syndrome is when you have those moments of thinking: I can’t do this! People think I can do this, but I’ve got them all fooled! I’m a fraud! A poser! A fake! I’m not REALLY an agent/novelist/physician/teacher/take your pick. They’re going be on to me soon!
But then … we have those moments when we’re reminded that we do, in fact, sort of know what we’re doing. I have that moment when an editor I hand-picked for my client’s book calls me with an offer. I have to acknowledge that I do know just a teensy bit about what I’m doing. Maybe I’m not an impostor after all.
I think it’s important to be aware of the insecurity that makes us sometimes feel like a fraud; and to remind ourselves that we do have talents, skills, and abilities. The most helpful thing I’ve done to keep my confidence strong is a simple sticky note on my computer:
“This is what I do.” Every day when I sit down to work, that simple phrase reminds me that I know what I’m doing. I don’t need to waste energy thinking it’s too hard or I can’t do it. I’ve put years into learning this job; I can simply start the day with confidence, do my job, and always be open to learning how to do it better.
Do you ever feel like an impostor? What makes you feel that way? What reminds you of the truth about yourself?
Ever feel like an impostor? Here’s a remedy. Click to Tweet.