Getting Real

May 30, 2023

White woman under comforter. Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on
White woman under comforter.

Hey, folks,

Gonna get real with you here today.

Imposter syndrome is hitting hard.

The last couple weeks, I’ve been getting less-than-ideal sleep (partially because spring nights bring weird temperatures that wake me up, partially because I’m a known sleep procrastinator), which has led to lapses in thought processes. Combine those together, and imposter syndrome rears its head for me.

Now, I don’t say this for sympathy, but in hopes that someone else can benefit from what I’m saying.

When I stop and think about it, the lapses aren’t bad in the least. Client edits haven’t been affected; I’ve just forgotten to clarify one or two things (which have since been dealt with), and I’ve almost forgotten to ask for something from a client, but he remembered for me. No client relationships have been impacted. No work has been negatively impacted. But each forgetful moment is made out by imposter syndrome to be something troubling.

It isn’t.

The tiredness has also made me struggle with reading and with my own writing – it’s slower than normal, and concentration is tricky. And imposter syndrome has made me question if I’ll ever be published, whether traditionally or even independently. I don’t think it’s ever hit me quite like that before, and it sucks.

But it won’t last forever.

What’s important when imposter syndrome strikes is to first identify it (which I’ve gotten pretty good at) and figuring out what you need in that instance to tackle it (in my case, proper sleep. Which now isn’t from lack of trying but my own body revolting against me 🙃). In some cases, that might mean you need to get to bed, but sometimes it might mean a little external validation, making a list of accomplishments your imposter syndrome is trying to gaslight, or taking a day off when possible to recharge and gain perspective. I’ve definitely done all three since starting this freelance business.

(And I’ve made a whole post about imposter syndrome, what it is, and how to tackle it here.)

It’s also great to talk to a friend who experiences imposter syndrome or who works with the same subject that your imposter syndrome is targeting. I have a friend who’s both an editor and a writer, and talking to her last week about my own situation made me feel so much better.

I’ve also thought about aids to help me with the lapses when I get tired. I’ve created a more comprehensive checklist for myself for client work, which should help me remember what I need to (including the things I forgot in the last couple weeks.)

For my writing, I’ve just kept working through it. I’m not even close to being able to publish yet, but I do have a story I love that I can work on and beta readers I trust who are excited to get this book in their hands. So for now, I can take this one step at a time. I can tell imposter syndrome it’s not needed right now, and hopefully by the time I’m ready to make a move towards publishing, it won’t even be around. Or, at least, I’ll have learned even more tricks about how to deal with it.

I guess this is just a PSA to tell you, if your tired mind is playing tricks on you, if imposter syndrome has swooped in, or if you’re just tired, do what you need to to look after yourself.

And if imposter syndrome tells you you’re not doing a great job, remind yourself that you’re doing your best. Take things one step at a time, in manageable chunks. Imposter syndrome wants to tear you down.

Build yourself back up.

Published by Kaila Desjardins

Freelance editor, fiction writer, proud nerd.

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