I’ve talked about impostor syndrome a bit lately, after I had one of my biggest-ever articles printed this year in a magazine with an audience that includes my peers and mentors! Obviously that all worked out but when my pitch was accepted then fast-tracked and my assignment included a word count longer than any of my previous articles, I kind of panicked. I started thinking, “Who am I to write this?” “Is anyone going to trust me as a credible source?” “Can I even write an article this long?” Just to name a few of my many doubts.
I was having impostor syndrome. I talked about this in last week’s blog when it comes to being a fitness instructor and the overall fitness industry but, today, I want to talk about impostor syndrome from a writer’s perspective.
First of all, are you having impostor syndrome or are you actually nervous for legitimate reasons? If you really aren’t qualified to write a piece, do not have access to required sources or know you won’t be able to turn in your work on-time, then these sound more like reasons to turn down an assignment (at least for now). However, if you are qualified, have access to sources (even if you don’t have them lined up yet) and you can meet the deadline, then it’s time to tackle your fears so you can get back to writing!
I used to work at a magazine named after an area code. The editor of this magazine lived about one hour south of said area code so she told me she was getting some backlash about how she didn’t know the area. She then said something to the effect of “I used to be a newspaper reporter and wrote about murders without ever committing a murder.” Wow. I hope she told that story to anyone who complained!
So, if you are getting butterflies about an assignment, check this list:
1. Am I qualified for the writing portion?
2. Can I finish the piece on time?
3. Do I have access to the proper sources* or research for the piece?
* I have introduced myself via email for most of the sources I’ve used over the years and conducted most interviews via email so ‘access to sources’ really just means you’re resourceful and you’ll track down the right sources even if it takes some time and effort.
If you answered yes to all of the above, you are qualified and I suggest giving yourself a pep talk, journaling about this great opportunity or picturing yourself reading your finished piece. For future encounters with impostor syndrome, check that list again and save that quotes above about murder reporting!
If you are just starting out with writing and want to build your confidence, check out my FREE Master Class all about the 8 Steps to Freelance Fitness Writing. This short 38 minute video will give you some tangible tips to get you started with freelance writing. If you like to learn more and have a little more hand-holding through your process, you can skip straight to my full course, Fit to Freelance. Of course, as always, send any questions my way!