When filling out an author questionnaire about myself for my publisher, I was asked about previous published works, awards, and speaking engagements. Well, I won the poetry competition in fourth grade for Reflections and got to read it out loud in front of the parents, but that’s my main claim-to-fame. That poem was, admittedly, rad.
My successes in life are most often quiet and understated. I am a loving and silly mother. I am a loyal friend and a supportive spouse. I am not coordinated, but I am very athletic. I am kind. I like sharing my stuff. Yesterday, I killed a black widow by stepping on it. I have recently mastered touching my toes from the standing position. I have outstanding lips.
I am proud of myself for these things, but I don’t require a lot of outside recognition for them.
While filling out the questionnaire about myself, however, I was overwhelmed with how little I have done, at least things that seemed relevant in the publishing world. There is no master’s degree in snuggling. There are no awards for sharing my tomato harvest or delivering plates of cookies to my neighbors. My life, which is beautiful and fulfilling, does not look that impressive on paper.
What business do I have being an author when I have never been an author? Why would someone read my book if only have a few hundred followers on Instagram? What if no one but my mom buys my book? And what if people do buy my book, but they think it is lame and they give it two stars on Goodreads? What business do I have parading around like an author when the biggest speaking engagement I have ever had was at the pulpit at church.
I vacillate between euphoria at fulfilling a life-long dream to humiliation for the failure I have not yet had. I have spent hours over my laptop crying, overwhelmed, and feeling like a complete poser. I feel more vulnerable than I ever have.
I posted a pretty pathetic picture of myself, but I am not throwing a pity party (haha, well maybe a little bit). While my feelings are big, they are also good. I am doing something scary and hard and exciting. I am shooting my shot, and maybe I will fail, but maybe I will succeed.
Have you ever felt like an imposter? How did you overcome those feelings?