Monday, 14 August 2017

Whaaat? You’re not coming to conference?

Whaaat? You’re not coming to conference?

By Jenny Glazebrook

I know there are all kinds of reasons not to come to the Omega Writers’ Conference. Most are good and reasonable. But there is one that I want to shoot down in flames (oh no, a cliché … maybe I’m not a real writer and all those real writers out there will notice all the grammer and speling mistakes in here).
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Impostor Syndrome.

Ever heard of it? This phenomenon was brought to my attention only last week. Well, the name of it, anyway. To tell you the truth, I have suffered from it my whole life. So how do you know if you have it and whether it might be making you hesitate about coming to conference?

Are any of these thoughts familiar?

Maybe I shouldn’t come to conference until I have ‘made it’ as an author.

I’m not a real writer. I only dabble a bit.

I’m not published like the real authors who will be there.

I wrote something great once but I don’t have the ability to do it again. It was a fluke.

I don’t really belong.

I self-published so I haven’t had the quality of my work screened by a publisher.

I don’t understand the rules and techniques of writing. I think it’s all going to be above me.

I’m not a writer. I want to write, but I hardly ever do. Life gets in the way.

People might realise the truth about me. I’m a fraud.

I’d love to be a writer, but I really don’t have the talent.

Some people are called to write. I just do it because I enjoy it. They’re more gifted and important than I am.

I don’t even know yet if I really am or want to be a writer.

I’m just someone no one listens to so I have to write to express my 10,000 words a day somehow.

I don’t write for the Christian market. I don’t belong. (I just have to say here, that we are a group of Christians who write many and varied things, including for the mainstream. A Christian carpenter is not expected to just build crosses and communion trays!)

Is there another, similar reason that comes to mind?

I want to tell you right now that we WANT YOU THERE!

Whether you have written 100 books and have them all published, or once wrote a paragraph for a church bulletin, or you journal privately every now and then.

Because the truth is, we all start somewhere. We are all at different stages of the journey. As Richard Bach, best-selling author of classics such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull, says:

A professional writers is an amateur who didn’t quit.

We all begin as an amateur.

And even those who have published many books still battle this impostor syndrome. Wikipedia describes it this way: Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

Maybe you’re like me and even as you read this definition you thought, ‘Oh, well I can’t have it because I’m not high achieving.’  So then my head started going around in circles. ‘Do I have it? Or do I like to think I have it because that would make me feel special and I want to be high achieving?’

However, I read something recently which challenged me. It was pretty much saying that if you’re scared you’re pretending to be someone you’re not and that others will find out – then become that person you think you’re pretending to be.

Edmund Rice Retreat and Conference Centre
So come along to a conference and learn the techniques you don’t think you have. Come along and develop. Dream big! Let God direct you without you putting up your own barriers of self-doubt and fear. Learn from those you consider to have ‘made it’. I can assure you they are more than willing to share with you. And they are still learning, too. They might just be further down the track than you are.

Don’t compare yourself with others. The truth is, no one can write what you can. No one has experienced what you have. No one else has lived your life. God has not given anyone else exactly the same gifts, talents and experiences he’s given you. We can all learn from each other.

Don’t be intimidated by others. Realise you are not alone. (And if anyone else is willing to share their ‘impostor’ thoughts at the end of this and call them for what they are, I’m sure there will be many who relate to them and are encouraged by your vulnerability).

As C.S. Lewis said, ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.’ Stop overthinking, comparing, worrying … step out and take a risk. Be the writer you’re scared everyone else might discover you want to be but might not actually be.

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

Hmm, I don’t think I like this post. I’ve just challenged myself out of my comfort zone.

See you at conference!

You can book here:
Registrations close 10th October.








Jenny Glazebrook is this year’s conference chaplain and part of the pastoral care team. She lives in the small town of Gundagai, NSW, with her husband, four children and many pets. She loves to write and encourage others in their writing journey and walk with Christ. 

10 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny - oh, I can relate! I went to my first writers conference not having published anything, not knowing anyone, so I definitely felt a bit of an imposter - but I learned so much anyway, and found a bunch of friends. The second conference I attended I still had no books to 'prove' I was an author, but I learned heaps, and further established connections which have been such a blessing. This year at conference I WILL be published, but somehow that doesn't seem to matter as much as knowing I will once more be connecting with like-minded Christian writers, and learning more about my craft. My advice: just go. You will be surprised at just how God uses this time of writing craft and connections to expand your world and service for Him.

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    1. Having you respond here reminds me also, that it's worth going just to make some amazing new friends! You are one of those people I connected with from the very start. Can't wait to see you again this year.

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  2. Such a great post, Jenny--thank you. I sure plan to be there at conference too with both the 'real' and 'unreal' writers! And I laughed out loud at your second last line re challenging yourself!

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    1. Lol, yes, it's funny how we know all this in our heads but sometimes it takes a long time to reach our hearts. Looking forward to seeing you again at conference!

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  3. Thanks Jenny. I am sorry I can't be there this year. As you know from my previous post I LOVE Conferences and Omega's have always been special, but I love them so much I've booked myself into another which clashes!! I can relate to the feeling of being a fraud but the magic of all those 'real writers' brushes off in reflected glory!

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    1. Sorry you can't be with us this year, Raelene. It's been so good to have you other years. But I hope and pray you have a wonderful time at the conference you're attending. And may God encourage you in your writing journey!

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  4. I can relate as well. I think I'd been to three writers conferences before I actually felt confident enough to admit I was a writer. I think I wrote and published 500+ online book reviews in that time, plus dozens of how-to posts on writing and editing. Yet calling myself a writer still felt (feels?) presumptuous.

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    1. Couldn't help laughing, Iola. Impostor syndrome can obviously get anyone. I would never have imagined in the past that you would not consider yourself a writer! And you've hit the perfect word for how it feels to say we are. 'Presumptuous'. And yet other people presume that if you write that much you are a writer! It reminds me of a time a lady laughed at me because someone told her I was an author and immediately I said, 'Oh, but I've only had one book traditionally published and that one was questionable.' She then asked how many I'd self-published and actually written. That's when the other lady laughed and mimicked the word 'only'. It really is all about perception, isn't it?

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  5. Thank you Jenny for your (lovely?) post. Yes, I can tick off so many of those reasons, excuses, feelings ... I am a first-rate fraud. Sure I think I can write, but can I really? Since I lost my precious bunch of words (80,000 of them to be precise), I seem to have lost my mojo. In fact, it's more than the 80k words, I've lost my confidence, not that it was strong in the first place. I've tried to begin again, but something, I don't know what, is stopping me. So now I'm a fraud. I read and review books. I love doing that. I make numerous daily notes in my journal ... and I'm 'flicking' through numerous books on the craft (of writing), books that I've read before. I just don't know. I feel a little lost. But yes, I think this imposter will be at the conference.

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  6. Jenny, thanks for sharing your words of wisdom. We can create a lot of internal angst for ourselves if we allow these types of thoughts to take root. Comparing ourselves to other writers will put us on the slippery slope of fear, jealousy, envy and lead to disaster. We each have our own unique writing journey to travel and it can be hard to brush off the judgement and criticisms from others that can feed imposter syndrome. Developing a thick skin takes time and a lot of prayer. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. :)

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