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Imposter Syndrome

I’ve had a professor talk before about Imposter Syndrome. He said almost all English majors had it. Basically, it’s that feeling you get that everybody knows more than you and you really aren’t qualified to be here (and maybe you should drop out and be a nurse.) The thing is, he said, everyone feels that way. Everybody is going to have read a different section of literature, and it’s really easy to get haughty when you know something that someone else doesn’t, or when somebody gives a “wrong” interpretation of a text.

I was talking to my writing friend yesterday, and we talked about basically feeling the same way about being writers. I read Anne Lamott and feel totally inept at being a writer. She basically takes getting published out the equation, which is realistic, but I still want to be published. I want my books to help people, and they’re not going to do that sitting on a hard drive. Beyond that, my friend can speak the language of Anne Lamott. I don’t. And Lamott’s language seems to be the language of the contemporary writing world.

I’m telling myself that this is Imposter Syndrome, too. I am more of a niche writer; I like books of faith. Anne Lamott is Christian, too, but I think I prefer Madeline L’Engle’s brand. Perhaps, if I can keep myself in good habits, I’ll have my own brand of faith one day, and it will help others figure out theirs.


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