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My Novel and My Life: Stifled by Imposter Syndrome

My first glimmer of “The Author and The Illustrator” came to me while I was staring out of a church parsonage window. My husband was a youth pastor, and I had just finished college. Though I had fulfilled my dream of graduating with a bachelor’s degree (and with honors), I still felt lost and unfulfilled.

Following college, I didn’t purse journalism, which was why I went to school. My only reason for not applying for jobs was that I just knew I was going to get stuck with writing obituaries and police blotter (How silly of me. Now, I think those might be the most fun beats!). Instead, I worked as an office manager at my church and did some freelance writing on the side.

One night, while feeling particularly low, I found myself staring out of the front window, across the parking lot at the church, when I imagined myself as a confused old-lady, wearing a 50s style dress and pearls and who had been stuck in that house for god-knows-how-long. This woman, though her mind was feeble, had the ability to write anything she wanted into reality. If she wrote it, it came true.

In my real life, I knew I was made for more than office work. I was made for fiction. But I didn’t believe I had the skills to make it come true.

As I continued to progress in my day-job “career,” I strayed further and further away from my passion for fantastical story telling. Throughout the years of holding various day-jobs (mostly in higher education), I did write. I wrote a few features for magazines. At some point I became a yoga teacher, and so I wrote for health websites.

All the while, I slowly chipped away at developing this idea of the lady who could write her reality.

Because some of my favorite books are middle-grade fiction, I decided this woman needed the creativity of a child to help her along. This child, a boy named Wesley, could draw things into reality. But this power only manifested with the help of the Author. Eventually, I re-wrote Wesley as a 13-year-old girl, Jayne.

About five years ago, I threw away all of my books on how to write books. At that point, I had resolved to give up. It was after that was able to get serious about writing. I think those books were holding a lot of psychological weight over me.

I finally finished writing the book about three years ago. That’s a little over 11 years after coming up with the idea. Then, because of the craziness of the world for the past two plus years, I am just now at the point of publishing. Sometime later this year, I believe I will be close to the 15 year mark!

That’s 15 years of holding the story and these characters close to my heart—15 years of being stifled by Imposter Syndrome.

I still struggle with it. I’ve looked at my book a few times and thought, “I have no business publishing a book. I’m not a real writer, after all. Self-publishing isn’t really all that distinguished.”

Those thoughts are lies.

By chasing everything but writing, I was (and have been) living a life that is not true to myself. Honestly, I had the first glimpse of the real me when I was staring out that window all those years ago. I am the Author.

P.S. Now you’ll have to read the book to find out who is the Author! “The Author and The Illustrator” drops Oct. 1. You have two days to sign up to be an advanced reader and get a free Kindle copy!

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