The thought that ran through my head as I was sitting in a cafe, watching people arrive for a book launch, people who all knew each other, and not one of them someone I knew.
When it comes to book blogging, I'm pretty confident. I've been a book blogger for seven years now, and I've honed my voice and writing style, and worked out what works for me in regards to when I post, what I post, and what I read. I have no issues with Once Upon a Bookcase, everything there works how I want it to. It's my hobby, and I enjoy it.
But that's when it's just me, my computer, and some books. When it comes to book events, that's when it happens. The uncertainty, the doubt, the feeling of unease. The feeling that I shouldn't be here, I don't belong with these people, I'm not "good enough" to be part of this. In that moment, I feel like a fraud, that I'm just pretending to be someone that fits in, that belongs, but fearing people are going to figure this out, and ask me why I'm there. And even when I see people I know and politely ask to hang out with them, I still feel it. Everyone else seems to know everyone else. I don't because I don't belong there.
Impostor Syndrome, according to Wikipedia, refers to "high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the 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. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women."
High achieving is a bit of a stretch, but I think my blog does pretty well. I enjoy my blog and work hard at it, but I'm always surprised when people tell me how great it is. I tend to often downplay it. And when amongst my peers or other people in the book industry, with my book blogger hat on, I crumble.
This is something I've started to notice when it comes to my lifestyle blog, Jo's Scribbles, too. It's just my little thing that I enjoy doing, but I see those bloggers around me, and I wonder why I even bother. I'm not a part of this group either, and this time, I've not even met many of them. I was astonished when Fiona of The Escapologist's Daughter mentioned one of my posts in her first newsletter, and called me one of her favourite blogs, and when Kathy of I am Kathy B includes me in #FF tweets saying I'm one of her favourite writers. Calling myself a writer is something I balk at internally, yet force myself to do anyway, even while constantly feeling like I'm fooling myself but nobody else. I'm not going to stop doing the things I love, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like a child playing at an adult's game (yes, I have changed the wording of that saying, because it's sexist.).
To be perfectly honest, I've mentioned that I'm fine when it's just me and my computer (and my books, for book blogging), and although that's true, it's mostly because I don't have too many readers, so there aren't as many people to "find me out". I feel it more when I write for other sites, including this one, even with this post. Because you're going to read it and see through it. "Why is she even writing this? Why is she even a team member of Safe Space? Who is she? Why is she even here?" I get so nervous hitting the publish button, or send button on emails when I'm emailing a pitch or a finished piece for other sites. Despite all I've said up til now, despite all I've been told by the people I work with on these sites, this is the piece that's going to give me up, this is the piece that's going to show them that I'm actually no good, and don't deserve to be on their site.
I sometimes find myself feeling similarly in other areas of my life, but it's mainly when it comes to writing that I feel like this. And I don't have any answers. The point of this post is simply to say, "Hey, sometimes I feel like this. Maybe you do, too?" It would be nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles with feeling like I don't belong, that you'll find me out one day.
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