Overcoming Imposter Syndrome is an ongoing struggle for so many of us in this here writing life. You can be on a winning streak, with so many happy clients and then one comment will send you spinning out of control.
I’m the worst. No one deserves to have me inflicted upon them. I knew eventually they’d figure out that I have no idea what I’m doing. The Doubting Man echos nad amplifies these sentiments because it’s his duty to ensure that you don’t reach your potential. He’s a manifestation of Imposter Syndrome, with one solitary focus: to make you quit.
Never Give Up, Never Surrender
It’s one thing to have a panic attack when you get an unmerciful edit sent your way and quite another to slip into a sneaky self-hate spiral that destroys everything else around you. I think most writers panic a little when they get any sort of comments. I can’t blame them, you put yourself into those words, so a criticism of them feels a bit like a criticism of the writer on a personal level.
Let me make this clear: That’s not actually what’s happening.
In fact, many of these kinds of comments are made to help you improve your copy on the next go, or to educate you about something the client really wants you to stress. Comments and constructive criticism are tools you can use to build your work up.
They make you better.
Even if they feel awful.
Never give up, hold on to yourself as the overwhelm sets in. Let the fear pour over you like so much water off a duck. Remind yourself that you are enough. Tell yourself that surrender isn’t an option. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Remember your worth and then add sales tax.
Five Things That Are Worse Than Extensive Edits
Sometimes it also helps me to reframe the situation. So a client sent a document over with a lot of suggestions. So what? It’s not the end of the world, you knew this was going to happen. It’s part of the process. Let’s pick out five things that are much worse than a lot of red pen.
#1. Oranges that are hard to peel.
Look. It’s the most important meal of the day and you should be eating more fruit. But when them bastards won’t shed their skin, it’s just… it’s like the universe, or at least the part that belongs to Citrus, is against you. No breakfast oranges, no early morning vitamin C boost.
#2. Overly catchy songs that you despise.
I’m never gonna Rickroll you, but I know when I get a song stuck in my head that’s mortifying to admit to, there’s no good way out. Recently, I managed to get Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass stuck in my husband’s head. This is because of Just Dance 2018. It has a bee dance set to this song and I do it a lot. Because I’m all about that bass, that bass — no treble.
#3. Running out of toner.
I have one stinking set of mailers left to send out and BAM. It happens every time. I run out of black or blue or yellow or magenta toner. Amazon’s got lots of cheap(ish) toners, but they’re slow. UGH. Cannot bear the wait for new toners, cannot bear the cost of buying them in person. It’s a rough call.
#4. Decluttering my office.
Dude, you should see this fucking mess.
#5. Running out of desk candy.
It’s that important. Running out of sugar at my desk is career suicide. That’s why I keep a backup bag of candy in the set of plastic drawers behind me.
Edits Happen, They’re a New Beginning
We’re none perfect, no matter how much we may want to believe we are. Our work is highly subjective, which is why it’s sometimes difficult for clients and writers to communicate effectively enough. If only we could do a Vulcan mind meld, we’d not need to mess with edits because we’d have the full picture of what the client wants the very first time.
And it’s not the client’s fault. And it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of this language we have. This inefficient, confusing, maze-like shitty language. English is cobbled together from spare parts, making mastering it one of the greatest challenges you may ever face in your life.
English is awful. I should go back to writing that series. Because it is.
Take your pen into battle with The Doubting Man. Stab that bastard in the eye.