Impostor syndrome is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by their inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”
I’ve been running my blog since 2015, and every year that I’ve run this blog, I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome. I remember when I first started it: I was full of political fire and I wrote think pieces whenever something annoyed me on twitter.
I was an amateur writer who didn’t know the first thing about sentence structure or how to convey my ideas across coherently. I sucked, not because I didn’t create good content. The ideas were gold, just gold wrapped in garbage.
And then I started writing stories and poetry, most of which were never published, just sent to people for feedback. The feedback was good, and in 2016 I created a medium account and put those ideas there.
But 2016 was a rough year, one of the worst years I’ve been through so far. And because of that, I didn’t create as much content. Mainly because I couldn’t create content. My creative juices were overwhelmed by the constant hits life was giving. And boy did life hit me hard.
But 2016 was also when I decided that I wanted to be serious about this writing thing, so I wrote. I wrote content that I thought would make people happy because they told me they’d be interested in such content.
But whenever those posts were released, they never read it. They never checked to see if the content was what they wanted. Maybe they’d share it if I sent it to them, but I never felt right about that content. It just wasn’t me.
And then I wrote content about how terrible my life was at the time, and people seemed to get me, they related to me pouring out my feelings on particular things. Whatever those things were. I got comments, I got feedback, and that felt good.
In 2016, I also decided that I was going to spend less time asking people to read and share my work. Before I would send individual texts to people or I would mass mention them on Twitter. And yeah, people would retweet and share and say, “this is awesome Tiffany!” But it felt like I was begging them to support me.
So, I stopped asking for retweets, stopped asking for feedback. If I posted something, I’d quote it and say, “I wrote *blah blah* about *blah blah* if you like it, please share and give feedback.”
This meant that in 2016, all my stats dropped. I had less views, less visitors, less read (on medium). That was definitely an ego crusher. Because I thought I was creating good content, and somehow it wasn’t converting to views and visitors and likes. I hated it.
I started reading self-help books, and posts about how to increase your reach: post at this time, use these types of headlines, use these tags, use these pictures, do this and do that. I employed these tips but only some of them worked. The others were a complete bust.
As the year went on, I decided to pull all my articles from medium, and put them on my blog, which I spoke about here: Talking About My Blog. And in these past few days I’ve released a couple of articles
- Just Leave Me Alone
- Please Stop Talking to Us About the Makeup We Put on Our Faces
- What Is Self Hate
- Just So You Know, The Boys, Animals, Beasts, Gentlemen and Real Men Are the Same
And then last week, I checked the stats for the year 2017, and I realized that I’ve gotten more views this year that I did last year. And it was like realizing that I had created content consistently for a week and seeing the result of that content triggered feeling like a fraud again.
In the two and a half years of running this blog, I’ve always felt like a fraud. That’s why I deleted all my posts at a point in time, and changed my name so many times that people stopped trying to keep up with my blog. It’s why I change my theme every now and then. I want to keep people engaged. I want to make everyone happy, but I can’t , and that makes me feel like a phony.
I think to myself, oh look, here I am, not posting at peak times, not using catchy headlines, not asking people to share and like at the bottom of my posts, I don’t use stats in my page to show how right I am. I’m doing everything wrong and somehow I’m still getting views.
And in my mind, that means that one day, people are going to realize that the jig is up. And they’re going to think, “hey, this girl doesn’t actually know what she’s talking about.” I feel like that day could be tomorrow or next tomorrow.
And even though the four posts I mentioned above got a good amount of traffic, the number of views declined with each post. Which heightened my fraud-like feeling even more.
Then I think about the fact that I don’t pitch to publications anymore which reduces my chances of having my name “out there.” And it’s like, I’m unable to establish my name with anything other than my blog which is just full of opinions.
That’s scary, that makes me feel like s fraud every minute. Writing this post, made me feel like a fraud.
Truth is, I don’t think Impostor Syndrome ever goes away, I think I can keep it at bay, but in the back of my mind it’s always there. And I can use the fear of being exposed as a fraud in two ways, either to cripple me or push me. For now, I choose push, maybe tomorrow I’ll let it cripple me. But I hope I let it push me more than I let it cripple me.