Now, I’m no doctor… But if you’re a fellow writer, I’m willing to bet you suffer a certain syndrome.
Let’s start with a few questions:
- When a client accepts your terms and rates for a project, do you think, “I can’t believe they fell for it!”?
- Do you attribute most, if not all, of your blogging success to luck?
- Do you constantly fear being exposed as a fraud—even though you have the expertise to back up your claims?
- No matter how accomplished you become, do you feel you still need to “pay your dues” or that you don’t deserve the recognition (or pay!) you receive?
Looks like you have Impostor Syndrome.
“I Have What?”
Don’t worry. Impostor Syndrome isn’t fatal.
Well… Not in the physical sense anyway. It could be fatal to your career.
According to Wikipedia‘s collective genius, “Despite external evidence of their competence, those with [impostor] syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”
Unfortunately, this poses a major problem to writers. One of the first lessons we learn when we “go pro” is the importance of marketing: of being able to convince others of our worth.
But how can we convince others unless we can convince ourselves?
Short answer: we can’t.
“How Bleak! What Chance Does An Aspiring Writer Have?”
First things first: Stop calling yourself an “aspiring” writer.
Do you write?
Then you’re a writer.
Just. A. Writer.
Go ahead. Take a deep breath. Let it out.
Now say it.
“I’m a writer.”
Great! Calling yourself a writer is a HUGE first step.
But did you believe yourself when you said it?
It’s okay if you didn’t. It can take time. (It took me nearly a decade!)
You know what helps? The big secret to kicking your syndrome in the butt?
And keeping proof on-hand for those moments when your brain turns against you.
For example, I like to look at the clips I have up on Contently. The website catalogs any by-lined articles I’ve written online and not only shares the number of clips there are, but how many total words I’ve written. (Ask yourself: “Would I have written so many thousands of words if I weren’t a writer?” Of course not!).
And then, since I work primarily as a ghostwriter, I like to whisper to myself, “And those are just the ones with my name on them! There are so many others…”
That usually does the trick for me.
Some other ways you can prove your non-impostor status to your naysaying brain:
- Go back and look over any testimonials you’ve collected from former clients. Clearly they didn’t think you were an impostor! It would be an insult to those fine people if you said otherwise.
- Add up the money you’ve received from said fine people. If your mind won’t believe the words, maybe it’ll believe the numbers. Money talks, as the saying goes, and your money is screaming, “You’re a writer!”
- Compare where you are now with where you were a year ago. Confession time: I always get horribly depressed around the holidays (for a number of reasons, but the main one being that freelance writing sales tend to droop in December). With this in mind, I always write a letter to my future self to open the following year during my “trouble months.” I like to share what I’m up to at that moment in time, career-wise in particular. And, without fail—at least so far!—I’m always doing better by the time I read it the following year. Try it! I’d be willing to bet that your writing career has improved as well.
“But Where Should I Start Right Now?”
Keep calling yourself a writer. Keep being a writer.
And, in the meantime, work on your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a short speech about who you are and what you do—a speech that can be delivered to your audience in the time it takes to ride an elevator.
The best part?
You can create yours now in 3 easy steps!
- State who you are.
- Share what you do.
- Tell who you do it for.
In my case: “My name is Lauren Tharp. I’m a freelance writer for hire. I create unique online content for small business owners and advise fellow writers on how to succeed at freelancing.”
For you it might be: “My name is Blabbity Blah. I’m a professional blogger. I specialize in writing articles for dog groomers.” Or maybe, “My name is Blippity Bloo. I’m an online author. I create e-books targeted to help entrepreneurs make at least $100,000 per year.”
Keep it simple. Keep it true. Keep practicing.
The more you believe yourself, the more your clients will believe in you as well.
You’re a freelance blogger. Go to work!