Indie Author Weekly

143: Dealing with imposter syndrome and procrastination as an author

April 18, 2023 Sagan Morrow Episode 144
Indie Author Weekly
143: Dealing with imposter syndrome and procrastination as an author
Show Notes Transcript

A year ago, I experienced an EXTREME case of imposter syndrome in my author career… which led to a TON of procrastination! In this episode, I’m sharing all about that experience and how I navigated it. 

In this episode, we discuss…

  • How my imposter syndrome came about
  • What I did to work through imposter syndrome (including some of the specific ways I did self-coaching for this, and the type of questions I asked myself to get to the root issues).
  • 3 things I did to actively navigate procrastination (and how you can apply that to your own situation if you’re struggling with procrastination).
  • How imposter syndrome and procrastination affects us all (plus what you need to know about EFFECTIVELY and SUCCESSFULLY managing imposter syndrome, and what we can do together to help YOU work through these issues, too)

Are imposter syndrome and/or procrastination holding you back (in your personal life or your professional life), too? This episode is for you!

WIN BOOKMARKS featuring Sagan’s novels when you publish a review of any of her books between now and April 30, 2023! All you need to do is write and publish a review of any of her books on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, etc (any book platforms of your choice), and then email hello[at]saganmorrow[dot]com with the link and your mailing address — and then Sagan will mail you bookmarks!

Resources & links mentioned in this episode: 

Let’s chat about this episode:

Support the show

Hello and welome to the indie author weekly podcast where you get to hear about the behind the scenes journey of my adventures as an indie author on your host Sagan Morrow. And since 2016, I've written and published seven rom coms and the polyamorous passion series, plus several business books for solopreneurs. Now in this episode, I want to share about this extreme case of impostor syndrome that I had a while back, and how procrastination played into it. Oftentimes, procrastination can kind of like bleed into it when imposter syndrome comes up for us. So I kind of wanted to share how we dealt with this on an internal and an external level to work through these things and get back into book writing. So the first thing about this imposter syndrome that I was experiencing is that this was not about anyone else. Okay, everyone else in my personal life has been very supportive of my books. People have been asking me when my next book is coming out book reviewers book bloggers have been really supportive readers have been very supportive. This case of imposter syndrome that I had, about a year ago, maybe a bit a bit over a year ago, somewhere in there, this this imposter syndrome was really just my own ego kicking into overdrive. This happens. It had nothing to do with anyone else. It was really, it was really all about you know me just get into my own head. So I really needed to get beyond that. It was also very specifically related to book writing. So I found this very, very interesting. I believe, I suspect that this was in part due to the fact that I have been feeling really great, really competent, very secure, very sure of myself in the work that I do as a productivity strategist. And as a success and life coach. Those are the things that I do when I'm not writing books. So I think that I kind of funneled all of my sort of anxiety and insecurity into my author career, because this other side of my business has just been doing so well. And I'm very, I'm very sure of myself. When it comes to the coaching side of things productivity strategy side of things. I'm very aware of my strengths and areas for improvement and all that kind of thing. So it's kind of like I funneled any any anxiety, things like that, because I wasn't feeling that in the productivity and coaching side of my business. I just like funneled it into the other side of things. Another aspect of this is that I was getting caught up in the book community on Twitter. The book community can be an interesting and interesting experience. I am not very active in any author communities or reader communities. But I will you know, I'm kind of on the periphery of it. So I will see what other people are sharing. I follow a lot of readers, book bloggers, authors, this kind of thing. And so I see the types of things that are posting even though I don't really participate in those communities. And so what was happening here is, you know, there can sometimes be some drama as with any community, and I was kind of seeing the different things that authors were complaining about. And readers were complaining about people talking about how you know, they hate it when authors do such and such a thing or getting really annoyed by certain genres not being stated correctly and book marketing, all kinds of different pieces and what was happening is that I was seeing what people were saying about what they dislike about books that they read, and I was applying it unnecessarily to myself. Again, this had nothing to do with those people, right? They were talking about my books, it had absolutely nothing to do with me either. But I was taking everything that I saw and I was just applying it to myself and I was I was getting in my own head about it. So this was a really big problem. And frankly, this is a big part of why I don't really participate in any book communities. There's tons of really great supportive people. Of course, the book committee can be extremely supportive. But because of that sort of aspect where I know that I can get in my own head about it. I generally try to take a step back and not not really participate in it. So when I realized that I was getting caught up in it, and I was sort of spiraling just by seeing what people were saying. That was when I kind of also took a step back and I stopped looking at what people were talking about in the book community. Another piece of this of sort of why this kind of impostor syndrome is sort of cropping up is that I always navigated it really well fairly easily in the past with previous novels that I was working on. By viewing my past books as experiments. So with my polyamorous passion series, I was really doing this as my experimental series, something to have fun with very low pressure. It wasn't about you know, trying to make as many sales as possible or trying to get a whole bunch of five star reviews. It was really just a fun experiment to explore my writing style, my writing voice, get in touch with what I wanted to write about and also to see what kind of reaction I get from readers. And, you know, hopefully, people would enjoy my books. That was kind of it when it came to the polyamorous passion series. However, with this new novel, small town stilettos that I've been working on for the past couple of years, I was viewing it a little bit differently. So I was kind of thinking, Oh, this could be the book that I you know, submit to publishers or this is a book that I could take to local bookstores and see if they want to, you know, feature it at their bookstore. I was putting this weird amount of pressure on myself that small town stilettos would not be an experimental thing that needed to be so much better than the polyamorous fashion series, which is really unfair to my polyamorous passion series, quite frankly, because the polyamorous question series is good. Those books are really fun. They're really enjoyable to read, and to write. And so I was talking to my head about this and putting this weird amount of pressure on someone else to what it was when it did not need that kind of pressure at all. And again, it really wasn't being fair to my other books. It was being kind of mean to them by viewing them as lesser when they are not in any way. So there was a whole bunch of stuff going on here. Those are just a few of the of the things that were kind of creeping up and really contributing to this feeling of impostor syndrome. So as I was recognized that these things were coming up, I ended up handling it by doing a lot of self coaching, basically treating myself as though I was my own client and working through and processing it. I find this very helpful. It's very useful to have a coaching background to be working through these types of internal bottlenecks and mindset blocks. With my clients. I can also often I very often am working through these things on my own, and coaching myself through things I do a ton of self coaching in my personal life and my professional life. So in this particular scenario, some of the coaching that I was doing for myself was around assumptions of other people's perceptions of me and of my writing, right so working through how I believed people might be perceiving, perceiving my writing Rachel sort of assumptions I was making. I was also doing self coaching around self judgment, discomfort around putting myself out there. My my thoughts and perceptions on some of my books compared to other books that I've written or am writing worries and anxieties and pressures to make this next novel just, you know, a whole other level. All of these types of things are what I was coaching myself through. And like I mentioned earlier, imposter syndrome and procrastination can kind of go hand in hand. So what was going on here is that my imposter syndrome was really leading to procrastination on book writing. While I was going through and unpacking the imposter syndrome and coaching myself through it I also had to reconnect with what motivates me the best when it comes to writing and what would make it easier for me to write working for all of Africa. So in this sense, my coaching, the self coaching that has been was very much around, you know, I'm not writing so what's going on here? Why am I procrastinating? And then it was, oh, it's because I'm making all these assumptions that are not necessarily correct at all or rooted in any reality about my readers and always these insecurities that I have about these assumptions that I've made him. Okay, so you're like, are these assumptions true? Are they not? What can I do to mitigate these things to stop them from holding me back? All of this type of thing? And then with all of that pressure that I was putting on myself with the books I'm writing, it was really around working through okay, why am I putting all this pressure on myself? What am I making this new book mean about me and my writing abilities compared to the meaning that I have attached to my polyamorous passion series in the past as a lower pressure writing experience? That is some of the self coaching and those are some of the questions I was asking myself some of the self coaching that I was doing to work through all of this. Self coaching is definitely a skill and a practice. So again, this is something that I do for a living. And as a result, I can work through things fairly quickly, and I can kind of see when my answers aren't getting deep enough to these types of questions. And I can also kind of catch myself and see, you know, if my answers start going in one direction, I can lead myself and guide myself through things and identify what the real what the real issues are, rather than kind of a surface level issues. So if you are experiencing impostor syndrome, or procrastination, regardless of whether it's your personal life, your professional life, this does not have to do anything with writing, I can put you through this right we can actually work through this type of thing together. So you can book your slot for success and life coaching at Sagan I will share that link in the show notes. Again, you can you know try to work through some of these things on your own. But unless you have coaching skills, you're probably not going to get to the root of certain things. And it also might bring up a lot of really challenging issues for you to work through that you will not be prepared to do on your own. So these are there's there's a lot of different layers to all of these different ends of imposter syndrome, procrastination, all of this. So it's really worth doing that very deep, deep coaching now when it comes to procrastination, because again, imposter syndrome led to procrastinating in my other career, you can tackle these types of issues through a few different angles. So this is a really, really fun way to do it. Okay, so I used self coaching for the imposter syndrome and then I also employed a few extra things for managing procrastination at the same time. This is I would highly recommend doing it. We're gonna be able to approach things from a couple of different angles, especially if you find that there's a lot of levels to veins, a lot of layers to work through within, you're going to get your best results by approaching it from a few different a few different perspectives. So here are just three things about my own writing style that helped me work through that procrastination, and maybe they can help you with your own procrastination as well. So this is again, one of the other angles I was kind of taking with it alongside the self coaching. So first, I tend to need the motivation of an external plan deadline in order for me to really make good progress with writing. So in my case, in the past, I have always said, you know, book launch deadlines, and I've worked backwards and it's been very straightforward for me to then meet my goals and hit my word count in this particular case, because there have been some many delays with my cover designer, it has enabled me to just keep on pushing back and back and back my book launch day. And as a result, I keep on telling myself Oh, well, I don't need to, you know, work on that novel right now, because I'm still working on the comic cover designer, and then oh, I don't need to work on the sequel yet, because the cover depends solely on the cover designer for the first book. So all of those types of things have been a really big piece. So definitely having that external plan to deadline and timeframe. In place has been really, really important for me. If you want to learn more about this whole cover design type of thing I shared about that it was in Episode 140. In my welcome back to the indie author, weekly podcast. I'm just like some background to that to that story. So how you can kind of apply this in your own situation. If you find you're procrastinating again on anything in life and business as a writer, whatever it may be, really figuring out your main external obstacles. And then what sort of like triggers that sense of internal accountability and motivation. So in my case, it is having those plans deadlines, that works really well for me for you, it might be something different.
So that was the first thing about you know, my own writing style that helps me work through this procrastination. The second thing is that I always need to do this work for me. First. This is not to say that I don't want to do this for you for my readers, I absolutely I want you to enjoy the books that I write that is really important for me. But if I start focusing too much on what readers will want, you know, so you know, will they want this trope will they want this particular scene? What will they want, what they want to read, if I focus too much on that, then I end up getting in my own head and worrying too much and then I get anxiety and that's no fun for anyone. So that's been a really important piece as well to kind of pull back and really focus on what brings me enjoyment and pleasure in writing. And the thing is that the more enjoyment the more fun that I have with writing books, the better my books end up being anyways, so that's a really delightful aspect of writing for yourself first before you write for readers. So how you can kind of apply this again, whatever whatever it may happen to be when it comes to that procrastinations or concept is to really figure out what your main internal obstacles are, and what will help you to shift your mindset, right. So really understanding what are those kind of internal bottlenecks that are kind of tripping you up? And what can you do differently to kind of shift your perspective and shift your your approach to all of this type of thing. All right, and then the third thing that I want to mention about you know how how I can navigate my writing style when it comes to dealing with procrastination is that I work best when I have more space capacity, energy canvas, so I can't focus very well on writing when I am worried or distracted by other things or as I mentioned when I feel pressured to do it, right so this is where if there's too many things going on in my life, my business I feel like hauled into a different directions. Then I can't sit down and write I find it really difficult to get into the zone and just allow myself to to write and see what comes out with that right to to get into the flow of telling stories. So how you can apply this is really working on energy management, right? So this can mean something like walking off larger chunks of time right to do something like writing. One of my clients is doing a month long sabbatical later this year to focus solely on writing, which I am so excited for her but I have also done that in the past for myself for my own books, and it has been awesome. I would highly recommend if you if you have your own business, like my client dies, she's a freelance editor. If you have your own business, then you can set your own schedule. So you actually can block off an entire month to do something like write like write a book or work on a book. If you don't have that type of opportunity. If you work a nine to five job for example, but you still want to do a project like writing a book or whatever it might happen to be. Then trying to block off any type of a larger chunk of time blocking off a full week, blocking off a full day, that type of thing for being able to make progress on your on your projects. That's going to be really helpful really, that's a distraction free environment. I talk a lot more about this in my signature anti hustle equals productivity powerhouse. So if you want to learn more about energy management and about sort of navigating your schedule to really work with our creativity level second thing, we're gonna definitely recommend practicing powerhouse. You can learn more about that at Sagan So that's been a really big thing for me, ensuring that, you know, again, there's not a ton of distractions, keeping me from being able to make the progress on my writing. Now, I want to note here that impostor syndrome and procrastination can really feel just so tough and so challenging when we are in the midst of them. And it can feel like they just drag us down completely, but they really aren't the end of the world. There are always more things that we can do to work through them to overcome these types of things. Because imposter syndrome and procrastination tend to only happen at that internal level. There's almost always things we can work through. mindset shifts that we can experience and that kind of thing so that we can then take action and overcome them. And again, you often want to sort of combine those internal shifts, right, that sort of self coaching, that kind of thing with the external actions. You want them to really go hand in hand, but you won't be able to take really good external actions unless you understand why you haven't been taking the external actions as of yet. Right. So if I had been going through this experience and just been like Sagan, you need to stop feeling like you're an imposter. You need to stop procrastinating. That would not have been helpful. You can't just like snap your fingers and telling yourself stop stop feeling like an impostor, stop procrastinating. That's not really helpful because it doesn't actually get to the root of why this is happening. What is really going on here, and how is this affecting me once you get to all of those sorts of layers, then you can actually work through it and understand, okay, this is happening for this reason, and therefore, if I do X, Y, Zed that will be able to help me deal with this particular thing. And then if I approach it from this other angle as well, and add in this piece over here, that will also help me to make that make that progress and overcome these sorts of issues, right. I also want to know that I also want to note here that this affects everyone. Okay, you are not alone. I you know, I have this impostor syndrome after writing quite a few novels, and it hit me really hard. So these types of things absolutely affect everyone. You are not alone. You can also show up in a lot of different ways. So sometimes, we again, like I said, you know, I've been feeling really great about certain aspects of my business. And then it'll come out of nowhere and another area of your life or your work. So these types of things can, can come up again and again, in all kinds of different ways. We always want to be really well prepared for identifying them when they arise and then be able to work through them and overcome them. The problem with things like impostor syndrome and procrastination is really when we do not do anything about it. Right. So when we let it continue in spiral, so this is one of the reasons why it was such a big problem for me about a year ago or just over a year ago, whenever whenever that was exactly when it came up for me when it imposter syndrome came up for me and procrastination. Part of the reason that it got so bad is because it really crept up on me and then I thought that I was making progress with it, but I wasn't getting at it at that deeper level, and also really maintaining the work that I was doing, right? So it's kind of just glossing over it. This is why it's really, really important that you always want to dig deeper and always address it further. So if you get to a certain point with it, you kind of hit one one point with it. You might think oh, okay, cool. That seemed to kind of fix the problem. You still might want to dig a little bit deeper just to see okay, did that fix this sort of surface level issue? Or did it fix this really deep, deep seated issue? You always want to get to the real roots of things like impostor syndrome and procrastination, you always want to simultaneously reduce the external barriers that you might be experiencing as well. And being very honest with yourself as you're kind of keeping on top of it as you're as you're ensuring that you're maintaining your the work that you were doing, right so once you're working through imposter syndrome, you're actually able to maintain it so it doesn't come up again. Does it just pop up again over here over here. And again, you and I can work through this together if you want to book your success and life coaching session at Sagan Now before we close it or close out our episode for the day, I did want to give you a reminder about our bookmarks giveaway. So I have a lot of bookmarks of my different books that I've got my polyamorous passion series, and I would love to get them out of my office and send them out into the world get them into your books. Alright, so these are bookmarks from a glamorous fashion series. And so as a result when you post a review of any of my books or all of them between now and April 30 2023. I will then send you bookmarks. So all you need to do is read any or all of my books, post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, Kobo wherever you like. And then email me hello at Sagan With your review and your mailing address so I can mail you some bookmarks and it doesn't matter where you are in the world. I would love to I'd love to send you some bookmarks. This is available until supplies last. I do have a lot of bookmarks. So unless it goes viral, I don't think you're going to run out. All right, that is our episode for today. That's a wrap for today's episode of indie author weekly. Everything I want to say for for the time being when it comes to impostor syndrome and procrastination. I hope this was interesting and helpful for you you can access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources at Sagan And I would love for you to also share your thoughts on this episode on twitter or instagram you can feel free to tag me my handle is at Sagan lips. Please take two minutes to rate and review and do everything on Apple podcasts. Or if you watch this episode on YouTube, please subscribe to my channel. Give this video a thumbs up. Thank you so much for tuning in. And I will see you next week for another episode of Indie Author Weekly.