So y’all heard the news, right? Flipped Out hit the extended New York Times list at #33 back in October.
It’s no big deal, really. It’s just the extended list. It doesn’t really count until you get to the top 20. I mean, #33 is just two rankings from the bottom. After #35 you’re not on the list at all.
And it could happen to anyone, you know? I have a great publisher, who’s given me great cover art and a lot of visibility. Those things are so important. My publisher makes sure my books are close to the doors at Barnes and Noble all over the country. And it’s the fifth book in the series. I guess we just got to the tipping point, finally.
So really, it’s not that big a deal. Nothing to do with me, really. And it doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things, you know?
Three days after I got the call from my editor about the list placement – and yes, it is a big deal; she was so excited she almost cried, and I’m thrilled – I went to an all day workshop. The fabulous Bob Mayer was in
to talk to our local chapter of RWA. Nashville
About midway through the day, he went over some of the trouble we as writers can run into. Some of the things that can trip us up. Fear of failure. Fear of success.
And a friend of mine, who sat on the front row while I sat in the back – I was late getting there; I got lost – turned and pointed at me. Pointedly.
Yup. I have imposter syndrome. Along with a whole lot of other people. Check out these quotes from some folks you may have heard of:
“I still believe that at any time the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” -Mike Myers
“I just never know if I’m going to pull it off. I have terrible, grave concerns about my own ability.” -Matt Damon
“I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m really not very good. It’s all been a big sham.” -Michelle Pfeiffer
My personal fave, from Valerie Young, PhD:
“I was sitting in class one day when another student rose to present the findings of a study conducted by psychology professor Pauline Clance and psychologist Suzanne Imes called The Impostor Phenomenon Among High Achieving Women (1978).
In a nutshell, Clance and Imes found that many of their female clients seemed unable to internalize their accomplishments.
External proof of intelligence and ability in the form of academic excellence, degrees, recognition, promotions and the like was routinely dismissed.
Instead, success was attributed to contacts, luck, timing, perseverance, personality or otherwise having “fooled” others into thinking they were smarter and more capable than these women “knew” themselves to be. Rather than offering assurance, each new achievement and subsequent challenge only served to intensify the ever-present fear of being... found out!
And I thought, Oh my God, I've been unmasked!”
Sound familiar to anyone?
It’s familiar to me. Not that I’m afraid of being found out, because I did write the book, and nobody can take that away from me. But I am concerned that the world will realize that I don’t really deserve that NYT bestseller status. Because it wasn’t really anything I did that got me there, you know? It was all contacts, luck, timing, perseverance... you get the picture.
So what about you? Got any writerly hang-ups? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Imposter syndrome?