Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

You’ve written a book. Maybe your work is out there, or maybe you’re thinking of finding an agent or taking the self-publishing route. Either way, you’re beginning to doubt yourself, and that’s when imposter syndrome kicks in. You feel like a fraud, despite what anyone else tells you. You feel like you should just give up, because you’ll never be good enough. Everyone knows what they’re doing, except for you.

Don’t believe that pesky imposter syndrome. You are better than you believe. Your writing is worth taking a chance on.

Here are some tips for overcoming imposter syndrome:

  1. Choose to be confident in your abilities.
    Choosing to be confident takes practice. Try practicing a mantra every morning when you wake up. The more you practice being confident in your work, the more naturally it will come.
  2. Practice positive affirmations.
    Similar to choosing to be confident, you can practice saying positive things about your work.
  3. Make a list.
    Make a list of all the things you love about your work and all of your accomplishments. What are you strengths and talents? What milestones have you reached with your writing? Make a long list, and you may be surprised at what you find.
  4. Share your feelings with someone.
    Sometimes, just talking about how we feel can be a big help.
  5. Know that you’re not alone.
    Imposter syndrome is common among writers. Find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
  6. Find ways to improve your writing.
    Maybe I’m alone in this practice, but whenever I start to doubt myself, I look for ways to improve my writing. I ask myself: What are my weaknesses? Where in my writing can I improve?

Again, remember that you’re not alone in how you feel. Try to think of all the things you’ve done so far. Have a finished draft? That’s a big step in your writing journey. Are you querying or pursuing self-publishing? That’s another big step. Just because you’re not as advanced as some other authors doesn’t mean your experience is invalid.

Your road is unique. Remember that.

Descriptive Writing: Utilizing Your Senses

Before I dive into today’s post, I have a couple announcements. One, I have updated the pricing on my Services page. They are much lower and priced for up to 100,000 words, rather than pricing per word. I will soon be up on fiverr.com as well. Two, I have decided to start writing under my real name: Allison Williford. I hid behind my pseudonym (Skylar Wilson) for some time after receiving threatening messages for sharing my positive experience with ECT. (Seriously, I even had someone tell me to kill myself, saying I was promoting torture.) But I decided I won’t be intimidated by people who have no heart or compassion.

Now that I have made my announcements, let us move on to today’s post about description!

Description is important in a novel. It draws the reader in, and it can help with the suspension of disbelief. Suspension of disbelief happens when we are so drawn into a story, we will believe anything the author tells us. While description alone won’t do this, it certainly adds that wondrous element that enriches your story.

There are many ways to include description in your novel, from your characters, to the setting, to even the food they eat. It can greatly enrich the story itself. There’s nothing quite like those moments, when reading a novel, when you are so engrossed in a story that you can almost experience the story firsthand.

By utilizing the five senses to describe what’s going on in your story, you can really dig into another world. What does your character see? Smell? Hear? Taste? Feel? Think about how you experience the world. What colors do you see? What textures do you feel beneath your fingertips? Do you hear birds, or perhaps a storm brewing outside, with its rolling booms of thunder? Are you drinking tart, tangy lemonade? A cold soda, with its carbonation fizzing on your tongue?

You get the picture.

  1. Writing with Sight
    This is probably the easier of the five senses when it comes to writing. Most of us experience the world through our sight. We see the colors of the rainbow. We see everything that’s in front of us. We see the faces of our loved ones. A great writing exercise is to try picking an ordinary object, anything you see in front of you, and describe it in great detail using only sight.
  2. Writing with Sound
    A common description I see in novels is that of people’s voices. Try describing something that isn’t someone’s voice. Is your character at a concert with screaming guitars and pounding drums? Are they in a forest, where the wind whispers through the trees and rustles the dead leaves on the ground? Are they inside, with the rain pelting the windows with every plink plink plink?
  3. Writing with Taste
    This can be a fun one, but I wouldn’t describe everything that touches your character’s tongue. Like the example above, is your character drinking a cold, fizzy soda? Do they bite their lip until it bleeds, that metallic tinge lingering on their tongue? Is their plate of chicken dry and chewy? Are they eating something hot and spicy?
  4. Writing with Smell
    Most of you probably realize that scent can be a powerful thing. Memories can be tied just to a single smell. Perfume is a common description, but you could describe the smells of other objects: a musty old book, someone’s rank body odor like overpowering wilting onions. Remember that with smell, a little bit goes a long way, so don’t overwhelm your readers with descriptions of scents.
  5. Writing with Touch
    I love writing about touch. What your character feels beneath their fingertips or on their skin can really draw a reader into their world. The scratchy, limp fabric of a hospital blanket. The roughness of an unshaven face, like sandpaper, a stark contrast to the softness of his lips. The way a single touch can raise gooseflesh along your character’s arm.

Like previously mentioned, a great exercise is to pick one thing and describe it in as much detail as possible using your senses.

Again, if you are in need of editing services, I invite you to check out my editing services! For a free, five-page sample edit, you can email your sample (Times New Roman, 12 pt.) to allisonwilliford@cloud.com.