Monday, July 12, 2010

Feeling like a fraud

I think every writer must go through a phase where they feel like a fraud. It might happen every once in while, or it might happen on a day to day basis. It definitely depends for me, I can tell you that.

Being published, being a bestseller, doesn't make the feeling go away. It can be just as strong with the evidence of your success (i.e. book covers) staring you in the face as it can be when you have none of that.

Some days I wonder when my editor will realize she made a mistake and I just don't have what it takes. Some days I stare at the story in progress and wonder how on earth I've made it through 7 books so far (7 that Harlequin have bought, not counting the under-the-bed books). I wonder when it's finally going to happen and the page will just stay blank because I can't possibly think of another word to put on it.

If you've ever felt any of this, believe me that you are not alone! It happens whether you've published several books or no books. I stumbled across a post by Bob Mayer that gave me several aha moments, and I wanted to share it with you. Go forth and read Bob's words of wisdom. Know you are not alone. :)


Jeanie said...

Thanks, Lynn. I think most of us struggle with fears and feelings of inadequacy. I really like the part where he says to step outside yourself and examine your 'credentials.' I am going to try and remember my hard work and accomplishments the next time panic sets it!

Cari Hislop said...

I'm trying to work at overcoming my fears. I find if I name them, voice the fear so to speak, I can shrink them down until they're small enough to step on. The worst fears are the ones that hide under the surface causing emotional decay without being too apparent. They're like ivy, they wrap around our dreams and if we don't pull them off they'll choke them to death.

I remind myself daily that fear is a lack of faith. And you can't accomplish anything (not even getting out of bed) without faith.

Thanks for the link! I'll go and have a read. I'm always looking for new ways to combat irrational fears.

MaryC said...

Lynn, I've been reading a book by Dennis Palumbo called Writing From the Inside Out. (Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within). He's a writer and a psychotherapist so he really gets the mind tricks we play as writers.

I'm finding it really helpful.

Thanks for sharing. I'm off to read Bob's post.

Christine said...

Hi Lynn: I read Bob M's post and he's spot on. We cannot let our doubts defeat us. I did sort of wonder if I was kidding myself with all this hard work only a few short weeks ago. But then I got the shot in the arm I needed to affirm that someone liked the writing well enough to request it. Small victories, or large, they help us plow through the darker moments.

And congratulations again for all your successes! You've accomplished so much since I first emailed you two years ago, Lynn. Amazing!

You make me believe it is attainable.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hey, y'all! Sorry I've been away all day -- ended up running some errands and have been out of the house for far longer than I thought I would be!

Jeanie, you're so right. We all struggle with those feelings, no matter where we are in the process.

Cari, naming fears is a good idea! It helps to push through them, I think.

Mary, that sounds like an interesting book! Hope you like Bob's post.

Christine, wondering whether you're kidding yourself is normal. Even at my stage, believe it or not. :) But you have to keep going -- and I know you will. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

So true, that feeling of being a fraud --but you have to press on. I like how Bob Mayer looks at it.

Thank you Lynn, this was/is a perfect post for how I feel!~

Louisa Cornell said...

Great post, Pixie Sister! And hey, you are definitely THE REAL DEAL !! Your success is a result of some really hard work and some great writing! Never forget that!

Paula said...

Oh, man, Lynn, I constantly feel like a fraud. In the middle of writing a troublesome book, when I'm going through line edits shaking my head at my mistakes, when the book comes out and I feel as if someone's going to finally read this one and figure out I really can't write. I wonder if it goes away even after forty or fifty books?

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Mary! I'm glad you found the post helpful!

Aw, thanks, Louisa! I love my Pixie Sisters! I'm working on a new story, and totally feeling the love right now. But later, when it gets hard, I'll start to feel that failure pressing in on me. :)

Paula, amen sister! I so hear you. I don't know if it ever goes away. An author with over 100 books recently told me that it still hadn't for her, so I don't know. *sigh* Maybe that's what keeps us working so hard -- we're constantly afraid this is the end.