83 comments

    1. Interesting sue. I think celebrating quietly is excellent. The question is whether it’s enough for you? See sometimes a quiet celebration is more than enough for me, but other times I want to go nuts – like when I finished my first draft – but I didn’t! I suppose imposter syndrome spreads across the work place too really so it covers more than just celebrations like you say ?

        1. agreed. Except I am taking a stance, and saying blowing ones trumpet when one has actually achieved something is ok. in fact its more than ok, its an achievement in itself! I say sod everyone else, if you achieve something bloody celebrate it ! 😀

  1. And there was me thinking it’s just a British thing…

    I hadn’t considered the lack of celebration as being part of this syndrome, though now you’ve mentioned it I realise that I can’t recall doing anything particularly celebratory when I’ve reached a certain point with a project. Which seems odd, on reflection, because I’m a big believer in celebrating. I’ll have to find a way of doing that next time I hit a milestone.

    Great post, Sacha

    1. Thanks Graeme,

      haha – well I did consider it British – but actually I think its something people suffer with worldwide sadly.

      Glad you’re a believer – you can be our role model 😀

      speaking of hitting milestones…. how is that sequel coming?

      1. It’s not a sequel! But I’m up at around 42000 words at the moment, so it’s progressing, if not as rapidly as I’d like.

        As for role models… That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever aspire to – but thanks for the vote of confidence.

  2. I think its because most of us are Indie authors and despite the fact that we made it, we havent had that agent or editor assess us as good enough, or the big sales that come with trad pubbing to confirm it. The trad pub process is still seen as THE mark of success, whether subconsciously or not. And our Indie community has taken over something of a motherly role, perhaps, who loves us and thinks us brilliant whatever offering we churn out? Or at least thats probably how we justify the likes and tweets! Lol!

    1. Interesting – I don’t tweet or like anything I don’t like. But I take your point. I guess I am talking about the smaller achievements though – the first draft of a novel – that to me seems like you broke the back of something and is a huge achievement. or like say you publish a new book? so many people don’t celebrate that – WHY?????? who gives a shit if it was trad pubbed or not YOU PUBLISHED A BOOK – seriously how many millions of people can’t even write one… you know?!

      1. I totally get your point! And I totally agree! Apparrantly starting to write a book is one of the most popular new years resolutions, but very few actually complete them.

    2. One of my biggest bugbears is when I’m asked what I’ve been doing, I say I’ve written a book, they say is it published, I say, yes actually and they say — *murderous look* who published it? What the fuck does it matter? Ok, if you work in publishing I’ll give you it’s relevant but if not… I painted a picture – whose paint did you use; I cooked a cake – who’s recipe. Like they know the difference between Random House and Penguin, a small or a big publisher. This is part of the reason people still struggle to acknowledge themselves as Indies. Grrrr

      1. I know. It’s like they don’t want you to be successful, and by being Indie pubbed they can discount it as irrelevant. Its a snooty attitude which pervades all art forms, unfortunately.

    1. Hi Eloise – stop that! You’re allowed to celebrate – you have achieved an enormous amount. Don’t celebrate quietly because of what others might think, celebrate loudly because of what YOU have achieved. Be proud – you’re a hero for finishing novels. <3

  3. Great post! I think too many people suffer of this syndrome. It took me days to tell my fiancé about my blog and months to let my parents know (they found out who I joined Twitter…). Most of my friends don’t know that I write because I celebrate it little.
    In the past I celebrated things but then I was “taught” not to be proud of the little achievements.
    Now when I get positive comments/do a guest post I let my fiancé know because I am proud of myself and need to share these things in a conversation. So in a way I am learning again to celebrate. 😉
    But I do see it everyday and everywhere, I even have the feeling that here (in France) it is expected…

    1. Thanks so much for reading it 😀 I agree – so many people do suffer with it and its such a tragedy. Gosh I can’t believe it took you that long. Its a sad thing you were taught not to be proud or celebrate. I’m glad you let your fiancé know 🙂 I think its important. 🙂

      1. I celebrate all the time now.
        I see it all around me, I work with a lot of kids who don’t believe in themselves because they are always told they won’t make it.

  4. It’s primarily a lack of confidence in many people, Sacha. I find it very difficult to ever believe that I am good at anything. No matter what I achieve, I always feel that I am a bit of a fraud, that I have somehow just ‘winged it’ and will be ‘found out’ at some point. You’d need to write a long post to explore it properly, but I wonder if that is the reason many of us turn to writing; it is a solitary activity, so we are not in a particulary competetive environment and surrounded by others watching us work and potentially judging our every move and decision *phew!*.

    1. Yes i can understand the lack of confidence, I can’t say I’m that confident in front of a computer screen either. BUT and here’s the thing, if we want other people to believe in us, and believe in our work, then we have to believe in ourselves, no matter how unconfident we feel. and thats why starting with celebrating the small achievements will hopefully give us a path that will ultimately lead to confidence 🙂

  5. Win the battles and you’ll win the war, if you have people around who are willing to follow you to hell and back, they’ll see the struggles and see you’re no impostor, you’re the real deal.

  6. I usually go out for pizza and soda to watch TV for a day. Though I always have a tiny outline or character page with me.

    Ali hit one of the nails on the head as far as indie authors go. We’ve been ‘raised’ to think true success comes from that agent, trad publisher, and being on store shelves. It’s how it was back in the day, which wasn’t too long ago. The indie scene still seems fairly new, so you have many in there that are confident to a point. Trying to shrug off years of ‘this is success’ programming isn’t easy and you always have people leaping out to tell you why you haven’t ‘really’ made it.

    Now a personal reason I fall into this is because most people around me simply don’t care about my writing. They’ve looked at it as a phase or hobby, which means I never have full support. I published my first book and got the verbal version of a pat on the head. I still do if the topic is brought up at all. Seriously, nobody talks to me about my books unless it’s to ask how the sales are and to find an opening for criticism. God knows I’ve had a lot of that. Might just be me, but I have a lot of people in my life that think it’s helpful to tell me why I shouldn’t be very happy about a book event. These are the same ones that complain about me being miserable too. In other words, you have to factor in for some authors that they have very little, none, or negative support, which creates and maintains impostor syndrome.

    1. Woof, Charles, I get a little of this from some. Not those close to me, but a few acquaintances are keen to find the (easy to find) knocking points. Sadly said acquaintances aren’t ones I can easily give the finger to.

    2. I think that is really sad Charles, that those around you don’t care for your writing – BUT, I do think it isn’t surprising. I know lots of people who have similar experiences. My mum reads / skims most of my blogs, but I think I blog too often for her to read them all! but as for others appreciating or celebrating. People know I write because I share my blogs on facebook. But none of my friends ask about it. I’m lucky that my family are creative so there is some enthusiasm, but still I think that is partly because I talk about it non stop. I don’t give them an opportunity to not be enthusiastic because I talk about it non stop!

      But I do think its a fair point – I was reading the reviews of someone’s book the other day and I was shell shocked at how rude and critical some of them were. I think as writers we are naturally open to a lot of criticism and negativity and I think its awful. What happened to the kindness in humanity?

      1. It’s frustrating, but I have to admit that I’m kind of used to it. Not sure if it’s better or worse than the verbal chestnut of ‘I don’t like fantasy, but good job’. That one always felt weird. As far as blogging goes, I’ve been aware for a while that various family members and friends of the family read my blog. I learned this when one of them took offense to something I said, which spread into a small issue. It’s why I don’t do personal stuff very often. I need more friends or to get together with current ones that enjoy me talking non-stop. Miss that because it helped me hash out ideas.

        Kindness in humanity is only around outside of the Internet. At least I think it does. You can insult a stranger until you get bored and nobody will punch you in the face. Unless somebody makes an app where your computer or phone shocks you whenever you insult someone in a forum.

  7. Writing a book is an achievement worth celebrating.
    While one can be a great writer, a naturally talented one that is, without ever having written a book…but one cannot be a book author without being a good planner, disciplined hard-worker, organized and strategic marketer; all these other than being at least a good writer if not a great one.

  8. Great post. I definitely suffer from imposter syndrome. I’ve published eight books, but most of the time, I don’t consider myself an author. Most people I know (coworkers, neighbors, etc) don’t know I write. I dread the day someone asks about my publisher and I’ll have to admit to my dirty little secret – that I’m a self-published author. With my last release, I didn’t celebrate at all. Nothing. I didn’t post on Facebook, or call my mom, or anything at all. Writing an book is a huge accomplishment. We should be proud to to tell the world we’re authors, whether it’s indie or traditional.

    1. Thanks so much Tricia. I hate that so many of us suffer with it, but I think its more common than we realise. That is a LOT of books to have published, and of course you are an author. I think we need to work on this stigmatism around indie publishing, published is published in my eyes. You should absolutely tell your friends/coworkers etc about your books – what if they want to read your books? I agree, however I get published, I am going to be mega pleased.

  9. Well – at least I have a name to hang on my guilty secret now! 🙁 I am trying though and will be celebrating my only published novel making Book of the Month status (1 of 3 with that moniker) with the Review Book Club I belong to. Nice Steak dinner and a bottle of good wine followed by a box of truffles – I so deserve it!
    Thanks for this Sacha – am re-blogging ‘cos there’s lots of people who need to read this! 😀

  10. Hey, nice post! I’m so glad I have a place to hide out, I mean hang out. Ha ha. Seriously, I don’t think I would have ever written a book had I not come to the net. I know it in my heart.

    Finishing a first draft hand written by pencil was wonderful and then publishing the final book, well, WOW! Lots of butterflies and happiness filled me up. But, yeah there’s always a but. I felt it was good and wanted more in return like for others to give me a grade or a response. Then when that didn’t happen it felt incomplete so I entered contests and did receive honorable mentions X2. My hubby downplayed it and said you probably get one for entering. Hmm. That never entered my mind, but okay I can accept that you think I’m a loser. Not really but thoughts like that creep in.

    I never did get readers and finished a 414 page novel and a poetry volume too. Why? Because I like my words and their placement and the feeling I get expressing it. Do I want to sit in a corner never socializing and meeting others again? NO. I actually want a big publishing house to represent me, but probably many others do to and I might not be good enough. It’s their call but I still like my stuff. So, I haven’t given up yet and I still like my stories way too much to quit as yet.

    I never thought I’d be a writer but if fits me. Why? Because I’m not a huge talker, I prefer the big picture of philosophy, politics and worldly stuff. Many people like to gossip and talk the weather and I don’t. I like to dance, play golf and go fishing. These fun things are waiting for me. I’d like to mix business (writing) with pleasure.

    Oh and I toot the horn way too much on Twitter and everywhere else. It seems like the write thing to do! Kim

    1. Thanks for such a lovely comment, I can’t believe you wrote a novel by hand now that is properly impressive. Congratulations on your contests too – competitions are SO hard these days the level is ridiculously high.

      You hit the nail on the head though. we should all write because it makes us happy not for anyone else or any other reason.

      Glad you’re at least tooting your horn, many of us don’t at all and we should!

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, really appreciate it.

  11. Writers need to read a post like this! I had a writing professor talk about this impostor syndrome 20 years ago, so it’s been around. I believe in celebrating. In fact, I celebrated the kick off to my revision process (which has me hyperventilating) as a way of giving my doubt the middle finger. And you know what? I broke my toe baking a celebratory cake! Now what does that mean? 🙂 Ugh…onward, ho! Limping…revising…but still celebrating, damn it…!

    1. Aww thanks Charli, OMG.. poor you. Ive broken a couple of toes before, and I know it hurts like hell. Hope you’re feeling better. Clearly your a soldier as your fighting through NaNo 😀 😀 so glad you’re a celebrator – more of us should be

  12. I’ve known about Imposter syndrome for years. Knowing is sadly not a cure, but you are right, it encourages self-correction. With three novels published (but, you know, one by a tiny Indie and two self-published) and a non-fiction title coming out next year by a traditional publisher (but in a niche market, of course), I am slowly forcing myself to answer socially to the description ‘writer’. On forms, though, I find myself putting ‘retired’, or ‘Research Psychologist’… I am a slow learner.

    1. Sadly that’s true. Knowing isn’t a cure. I wish it were. Even if you struggle to accept it – you were an author / writer the minute you published your first book. 🙂 I know you’re not alone though, many of us are the same. Thanks for stopping in. 🙂

  13. Yep, I’m with all the above who think this is one of your best, most sweet-spotted posts. I’m a mass of contradictions. I never really felt I deserved my job at Freshfields, I was a fraud who they never found out. So writing is an easy game to self knock I know its bollocks, I force myself to say I’m an author but it still sucks.

  14. i can definitely relate to all of these points. I’ve been working on my first book for so long that it feels surreal for it to be finally be getting out there, and my heart always skips a little when someone likes or comments on a post I’ve made with some of my real writing on it rather than tips for other writers. I realized a long time ago, though, that I do have difficulty celebrating my accomplishments, as I tend to have so much going on, and such high expectations of myself, that I never allow myself the time to celebrate. I’ve created a full fashion line and showed in Boston Fashion Week, I’ve had my photography published, and I’ve won art contests my entire life, and I’ve never really done much celebrating because there is always something else that needs my attention. I decided that this time, I am going to make the time. I have a bottle of wine waiting patiently to be opened when my first book is published on December 9th, and I will probably be going out for dinner with friends to celebrate finally being done with the book I’ve been working on for (quite literally) half my life.

    1. I think high expectations are a problem for a lot of people. That’s definitely my problem. Wow, you sound like you have A LOT of achievements under your belt, so many I’m shocked you haven’t celebrated before. You so deserve it and cheers – heres to your publication 🙂

      1. Haha thanks! I’m actually just off to celebrate another achievement right now, and this time I’m actually going to celebrate it! I’ve been trying to get my art out into the world for years, and I’m finally getting the chance due to being invited to show in a gallery in my hometown! 🙂

  15. Reblogged this on Rose's Road and commented:
    There are times I have to remind myself that I actually am the author of a book of poetry. But the next though is that it’s not that great, or even very long.
    Talk about self-demoralizing. :/ Do you have Impostor Syndrome?

  16. I am the worst at celebrating myself. I don’t even like for people to know my birthday for dreading a fuss. Maybe we need an imposter syndrome award for the most reticent. Wouldn’t that be a nightmare!

  17. I feel like that pretty much all the time. When I had my first book published everyone was very congratulatory and I was all “Oh anyone could have done it”. I did the first couple of chapters of my PhD, and I just said “If I can do it, anyone can”. I came second in a tutor’s choice award at work, and I just said “Oh the students only like me because I do the computer stuff with them”. I’m incapable of recognising achievements as being worth celebrating because I assume if I can do something, then anyone could!

    1. Hey Icy, thats such a shame that you feel like that. You totally have to be proud. Sounds like you have LOADS of achievements, and your not recognising them as yours, when clearly they are as a result of your hard work. oh and by the way, NOT everyone can do a PhD or write a book!! both mega hard things to do!

  18. No, I’ve never celebrated any of my writing. Neither have I celebrated the blogging milestones many others celebrate here on WordPress. Why? I guess it’s because many of us don’t like to admit that we enjoy praise or achievement. But you are so right, Sacha. We should celebrate it and we should never feel guilty for doing so. In fact, achievement should push us up to that next level of writing. I told myself for far too long that I could not write because I have dyslexia. Look at me now. Did I celebrate starting blog? No, but I should have done.

  19. I’ve definitely had bouts of imposters’ syndrome throughout my career but one of my strong desires has always been to become more self aware, actually pray for it and have for years…that’s led me to allowing myself to celebrate my achievements, so whether it’s springing for a bottle of my favorite wine or just allowing myself to feel good right down to my toes, I’ve learned to savor my milestone successes because I know that feel-good sensation spurs me on.

    1. That is such good news because I so rarely hear from anyone that says they have managed to find a way to appreciate their achievements. I think imposter syndrome is debilitating and shatters progress too. I hope I can take a leaf out of your book <3

      1. Well I think you should because your blog is fab in every way and anyone can write a “go out and get’em” piece but it’s obvious, to me, that your writing comes from a deeper place and that genuineness that I strive for always comes straight through. I’m taking some leaves from your book Sacha, so you’re most welcome to use some of mine. Start today and reward yourself for getting your new year off to a great start while motivating other writers in their own efforts…honestly, you rock! I think I’ve morphed into a Sacha Black groupie. Consider yourself fortunate that across the pond and too poor at the moment to fly over and stalk you, lol.

        1. hahahaha you are hilarious!! what a lovely (slightly scary) thing to say I am laughing my head off! I kind of think its a shame you’re across the pond! If you ever hop over let me know 🙂 😛 <3

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