Imposter Syndrome and Being a Force for Change by Beth Barany
Maybe you recognize this…
When I face my edits, I wonder, “Who I am to publish this story?”
I’m only a wee person… one of 7.8 billion on planet earth.
Imposter Syndrome is Real
When I sat down to write this newsletter, I wondered, “Who am I to help the writers who will read this?”
I’m only a traveler on the road, a working writer, like you are, trying to figure things out as I go.
“I’ll figure it out.”
But like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible I have the mantra, “I’ll figure it out.”
It’s not really about whether or not we’re nobody and don’t have the right credentials or don’t measure up to the other person doing the big thing.
It’s really about whether or not we want to write the novel and the impact we want to have on readers with our stories.
Who are you to write a novel?
Why, you’re you. Unique. One of a kind. With the drive to write a novel and say something unique.
You’ll figure it out.
You’ll figure it out.
True, unlike Ethan Hunt, we’re not secret agents running full tilt to save the world before the bomb goes off.
Yet, what we do as fiction writers is important.
I have to believe this otherwise, why do it?
When you show up for yourself through your story, you have the opportunity to reveal to others what’s in your heart, mind, and soul.
How will we know unless you share it?
And I imagine you’re here because you want to share your heart, mind, and soul through fiction writing, through a great story that yanks your readers in and dishes to them an immersive experience in the ways that only fiction can.
Fiction is a powerful tool.
Will Storr, in The Science of Storytelling says, “If tribal thinking is original sin, then story is prayer.”
What prayer are you sending out into the world via your story?
What is your wish for humanity?
I’m still formulating that as I do my final revisions… If I had to put it into words today I’d say it’s something like, “let’s cry a river of sadness for all that we have lost, so that we may begin anew…”
I want my readers to cry.
There, I said it.
Different than crying from joy or from the heart breaking at the aching beauty of something. That was the kind of cry I had from every one of Nnendi Okorafor’s Binti books (https://books2read.com/bintitrilogy) — so love them! Highly recommend this sci-fi coming of age story!
So how do I go about creating that effect?
I’m not sure. I’ll let my writerly cooks in the kitchen figure it out — like Barbara Samuel’s girls in the basement https://books2read.com/basementgirls.
I’ll figure it out.
I do know that the sadness has been stewing in my books from the beginning, since I started this series when my father was sick and dying. He died 2 years ago while I was in the first round edits of my 4 book series.
Now that I’m in near-final revisions, I edit aware of my feelings of sadness and loss, and of the sadness of the pain in the world, of all the things that hurt, all the injustices, the slights, prejudices, and ways in which people have been overlooked, marginalized, and discriminated against.
My heart hurts so much, and my only tool against oppression — other than speaking up in my every day encounters and retweeting — is my art, my fiction.
I could take to the streets, protest, sign petitions, donate, volunteer, etc. but then, when would I write? (I occasionally do some of those things.)
I’ve consciously chosen to put my power into the world through my science fiction mystery series — through a vision of a possible future, through the action of a justice seeker — my investigator Janey McCallister, and through painting a picture of a world in a 100+ years.
How will you use your power for creating? How are you using it now?
Do you experience imposter syndrome? How did you handle it?
Comment below or email me. I’d love to hear.
About Beth Barany
Novelist and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany runs Barany School of Fiction, a full suite of courses designed to help fiction writers experience clarity and get writing, so they can revise and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers. A Master NLP Practitioner, and she’s also the author of books for writers, including Plan Your Novel Like A Pro, co-written with her husband, thriller writer Ezra Barany.
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