Outside the comfort zone
Wow! Where the hell did November go?
If, like me, you've spent the past 30 days running around like a headless chicken wondering who, what, and where you're supposed to be next, I empathise. The build up to the festive season is always silly, what with shopping, baking, decorating... living. The older I get, the faster it comes and goes and I feel like I'm treading water. I'm not alone with this, though, am I?
Talking of feeling alone, being an aspiring author can often leave me feeling one of two ways: inspired by the wonderful peers, writers and authors I'm lucky enough to have contact with; or deflated by the sense of being an impostor in this writerley world. The latter is the one I struggle with the most, and it seems I am not alone with this.
I was lucky enough to attend the launch of Serenity Press's latest publication, "Writing the Dream". The book is a revelation. Hearing the journeys taken by so many inspiring people gives me hope that one day my writer dreams will be realised. I spoke to many of the writers and authors who'd submitted their stories for this publication, and was relieved by their 'normality' and openness.
Three in particular stood out: Michele Nugent, former editor and journalist, blogger, and lover of stories spoke to me about her feeling of being an imposter; Crime and historical mystery author, Felicity Young, talked to me about how her life as a forces child influenced her writing journey, and encouraged me to draw upon my own experiences as a forces child; and Melinda Tognini, friend and author of 'invisible' stories wrote simply:
"Become a brave one"
in my copy of "Writing the Dream".
Having exposure to all these wonderful and 'normal' folk is a good way to empower yourself as an aspiring author, and to assure yourself that where you are at this point in time is where you are supposed to be. It takes courage, determination, and, most-of-all, resilience to get through the highs and lows of writing, regardless of publication dreams. And for those of us who wouldn't ordinarily put ourselves 'out there' in public (gasp!), the idea of having to adopt a persona of someone who knows what they're talking about, and can competently engage readers and other writers is bloody scary.
I've done what I'm supposed to do to put myself 'out there' on social media. I have my own author brand, created through my website, Facebook page and other social media outlets, and I have been to many events involving other members of the writer community. Yet, I still feel like a fraud, like I have no credentials and do not belong in this world that seems so foreign. But then I speak to authors and other writers and am convinced otherwise. I realise that I am not alone with my imposter syndrome. Most aspiring, emerging, and established writers I have talked to have experienced the very same thing on their personal writing journeys. They navigated their way through and are still writing. You could call it a write of passage ;-)
I'll leave you with some advice Michele gave in my "Writing the Dream" copy, which truly resonates:
"fake it until you make it"
So I guess that's what I'll do.