When your self-esteem is too high, there's always Nurse Ratched to put you gently in your place.

When your self-esteem is too high, there's always Nurse Ratched to put you gently in your place.

I’m in the throes of procrastination and have been for about a week. Ironically, a recent New Yorker has an article on the topic, which helped me identify what I’m going through and why, but also ironically, I haven’t actually read the article yet because I’ve been putting it off.

So why am I procrastinating? Not just on writing GWIII, even though I am so close I can see the end from here. I’m also procrastinating on the business aspects of writing, like finding a new agent and potentially a new publisher for this book.

It’s because I feel like an imposter. So, every time I sit down to compose an agent query letter, the inner monologue starts:

” This agent won’t want to represent you. Your numbers suck, you are still writing in a universe in which your first two books performed dismally, and no one is going to look at you or your books.

Somehow, you got published, by a fluke. And now everyone knows it.

You. Are. An. Imposter.

I’ve talked to other authors, and they also get imposter syndrome, so my head knows this is an irrational fear. But my inner Nurse Ratched is devious and she knows exactly how to make all this sound plausible.

I’d love to be able to say that I’m getting over it, but there’s no getting over imposter syndrome. I’ll probably always have it. In the meantime I’ve cleaned up the workspace again and it’s time to sit down and rack up the word count.

Imposter syndrome will just have to wait.


Martin Owton · October 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

So it was some imposter who borrowed your name that sold those stories to Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales and Hitchcock’s?

Marshall Ryan Maresca · October 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm

There’s a theatre company which has produced my work three years in a row, and DESPITE that, every time I submit to them, I’m convinced that this time they’ll see through me and declare me a hack.

I won’t even get into the nervewrack that is querying.

Patrice Sarath · October 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm

It’s endemic, isn’t it. I guess the trick is to just keep writing and try to trick Nurse Ratched into looking the other way.

By the way, I tried to find a still of the Chief flinging the hydrotherapy unit through the window and making his escape, but my google-fu failed me.

Dave Gullen · October 20, 2010 at 12:44 am

So if it’s endemeic, then we’re all faking it and there’s nothing to worry about.

Patrice Sarath · October 20, 2010 at 6:57 am

Er no…the whole point of imposter syndrome is that I’m faking it and everyone else is real. So yeah, it’s messed up. But I just wrote 2K last night.

Fred Stanton · October 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I’m not an imposter. I’m an outright fraud!

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