phony baloney


Many days, I feel like a big faker. I write, but am I a “writer?” I publish and promote, but am I really an “author?” I critique and beta read and offer feedback as if I know what the hell I’m talking about. I do guest blogs and talk about myself as if I am totally legit.

I write stories, and people read them.

That blows my mind when I think about it.

It’s not like I think I’m completely undeserving or anything. I put a lot of effort in to my writing, and I am always working to get better. It’s just that writing is slow work, and improvement (at least for me) seems to come in tiny, hard-won increments. The story that someone reads in a few hours probably took me six months to write and refine. And I mean six months of hours each day -writing and thinking and re-phrasing and second-guessing. So that when people like my work, or even take it seriously, it kind of shocks me. Because in my head it’s still this flawed, silly thing.

Sometimes people praise me for things I had no idea I was doing (beta reader: “wow, I love how you’ve woven the mythos into the subtext!” me: “right, I totally meant that.”)

Sometimes people ask my advice about things I am not qualified to even talk about (writer friend: “I’m thinking of self-publishing, can you give me some pointers?” me: “I’m a huge failure and I have no idea what I’m doing but sure.”)

But I’m trying to feel more confident in myself, and also to understand that, even though my experience is limited, I still have something to offer my writer friends.

Join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and be insecure with me 🙂

12 thoughts on “phony baloney

  1. While being paid to write isn’t the be all and end all of existence, people are buying your work. Not mention those awesome people on pinterest who pinned your books.
    You may feel unqualified some days, but people like what you do and read what you write. There isn’t any higher accolade for a writer than that.

  2. I know what you mean…but you said it better than I could have. I especially love the, “Yeah, so totally meant that.” I get people saying that about my poetry…cracks me up. I’m thinking, “Wow, that was an accident, but it must have been in my subconscious somewhere to pop out like that.”
    Great IWSG post, Amelia, nice to meet you (or sorry if I’ve met you before and don’t remember…). Love your tagline!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

  3. I’m with you Amelia. I continue to be amazed by the fact that people read the words I’ve written, and sometimes even analyze them coming up with ideas I didn’t even realize I put in there — implied or otherwise.
    Great post… I so relate. 🙂
    Silvia @

  4. The only thing I know for sure is what I like. I share what I like and hopefully I learn and teach at the same time. I’m sure you do exactly the same thing, but don’t think about it. It’s like your instinct to add subtext (they lost me too) or to build tension. It’s in you. Go with it. 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  5. Boy do I know how it is to feel like a fake. It isn’t just about my writing. Any time I “pass for normal,” I feel like a fake. I feel like if anyone knew what a screwed up mess I really am, they’d throw me into some kind of asylum and flush the key. I do have some actual fear of this as a person with mental illness. I came of age in the 1980’s. The mental hospital was NOT a place you wanted to end up, ever. It seems like a lot of psych facilities are better now, at least in the U.S., but back then, if you wanted to be treated like garbage, all you needed was a psych hold.
    Thanks so much for visiting The Cheese Whines.

    • I think that is probably true of all of us. Who knows how screwed up we all are but ourselves? We all hide a multitude of issues. I agree with you on the way psych wards used to be, and I do think they are better now. Still scary though. Once someone thinks you’re nuts, it is very hard to convince them otherwise, and anyone’s behavior seems odd when closely observed. I’ll vouch for you, if it comes down to it 🙂
      Sorry for the super late reply… I don’t know how I missed this comment last month!

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