Indie Author Weekly

118: Why imposter syndrome isn’t real—plus 7 steps for shifting out of it

June 29, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 119
Indie Author Weekly
118: Why imposter syndrome isn’t real—plus 7 steps for shifting out of it
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever struggled with imposter syndrome? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.    

TUNE IN NOW to discover why imposter syndrome is NOT real, plus 7 steps for shifting out of it (you can achieve this in a matter of seconds!)...  

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Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and the behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. I’m your host, Sagan Morrow (or @Saganlives on Twitter & Instagram), and I’m a productivity strategist and an author of polyamorous romcoms.

Now, have you ever struggled with imposter syndrome? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

For new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes—plus updates on my writing projects—delivered directly to your inbox each week at… link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share about why imposter syndrome is NOT real, so that it stops holding you back from making progress on your writing goals and dreams.

Yep, that’s right—I’m making a, potentially controversial statement today: imposter syndrome isn’t real. 

I want to give you an example, which I think might be pretty familiar to you, too: Some days, I can open up a book I’ve published, and I’m super excited about it, and I’ll think, “This is awesome. I am a great writer and storyteller. This is hilarious and clever! I love this so much.”

Other days, I’ll open that exact same book to the exact same page, and my reaction will be to think, “Oh my god. This is awful. This is bad writing. This isn’t funny at all. These characters are so wooden. I am a terrible writer and storyteller.”

That’s a pretty dramatic shift, from one reaction to the next.

What’s changed? The work hasn’t changed. The book hasn’t changed. It’s not even a different draft of the book: It’s the exact same book, the same story, the same scene. The writing has not changed. 

So. What has changed? My perception of it has changed. My perspective on it has changed. My frame of mind is what has changed. Not the work itself. 

Those two reactions to the exact same work are, of course, extreme. Most of the time, I have a more balanced view of it. But my point is that our perception and mindset don’t necessarily say anything about the actual work itself. That particular perspective, in the moment, is more reflective of ourselves and our mood in that split second, than it is reflective of the value or worth of the actual book.

It’s one thing to know this intrinsically—it’s another to truly unpack it. And we addressed that a little bit in Episode 106 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast, but we can certainly delve deeper into that topic in a future episode if you like. For today, I really want to address that important first step, of taking ownership, and taking back control, when we start to slide into imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome isn’t real. It is simply where our mindset might be at that point. The work hasn’t changed—the way we look at it is what has shifted. And that’s empowering, because it means that we can shift back into the excited, enthusiastic, confident writer that we were, the last time we opened up that same book we wrote. 

I don’t want to downplay imposter syndrome, because of course, it FEELS real. It’s a horrible feeling in the moment. It can be a really despairing experience. That’s awful. And, also, at the same time, imposter syndrome is an indicator that something is going on there to deal with. It has nothing to do with the writing itself—it entirely has to do with our perspective on it.

What do you think of this? I invite you to post on Twitter or Instagram about what your take is on all of this, and tag me, @Saganlives, so that I can see it. Let’s have a conversation about this!

Of course, there are many, many reasons for why you might be feeling like an imposter. Maybe you received several bad reviews in a row, or maybe you were just working on another project that you aren’t happy about, or maybe you had a fight with a loved one and that’s affecting your emotions, or maybe you’re feeling insecure or having confidence issues about something else entirely in your personal or professional life, and it’s bleeding into this area… There could be so many things going on.

All of those are valid. All of those are really hard. All of those 100% are going to influence your headspace! 

So with that in mind, recognize that if or when you experience imposter syndrome, that it isn’t really about you or your worthiness or the quality of your work. There are a lot of other factors at play. This will pass. Feeling like an imposter does not mean that you ARE an imposter. 

And that’s why, at the end of the day, “imposter syndrome” isn’t real. It exists only in our perception, and we can shift that, we can reframe that, to get out of the disempowering state of feeling like an imposter, and into a more empowering state of joy in the creative process.

Because that’s what I find is truly at stake here: when we a) recognize that we’re feeling imposter syndrome, we will b) know that it is disempowering. So we can c) reframe it, to d) differentiate between what’s legitimately going on, and how we are interpreting that to make meaning from it. From there, we can e) make the shift into changing our focus to f) that of our love of the craft, which will g) in turn empower and inspire us to create with joy.

Whew. That’s a 7-step sort of process that can take place to shift from imposter syndrome to empowered writer. Pretty cool, right?

Sometimes, this process may take days or weeks to work through. Other times, this process may take a mere matter of seconds. The beauty is that you get to determine it.

If you want support with going through this process and reframing, I have some really fantastic tools like transformational tapping that I can help you with when you get one-on-one productivity success coaching with me. I’ve been teaching and coaching on topics like this for solopreneurs—including freelance writers and authors—since 2016, and just this year I’ve upgraded my own professional development and taken trainings in powerful coaching modalities. 

...All of that combined means that we can accomplish a lot together! I’m happy to guide you through this process and support you in your author journey—visit for details on how we can work together on this.

To sum up, imposter syndrome is just a feeling. It doesn’t need to define who we are or what we do in life or in business—including your career as a writer.

It’s okay to experience imposter syndrome. It affects all of us from time to time! The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to succumb to it… or are you going to do something different this time? 

I’ve chosen each of those opposite routes at different points in my career, and I’ve gotta tell you: even though it might feel nearly impossible right now, you are 100% capable of getting out of imposter syndrome—and choosing to do something different is 100% the better decision. Every time. Every single time.

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.