how to keep writing when you don’t feel like a writer

Imposter syndrome:

That feeling you get when you immerse yourself in great writing and then read your own, only to realize you are not the best at your craft. Who do you think you are to call yourself a writer?

I feel it right now. Who am I to think that I have anything to say that you would want to read? But here’s the thing — you are reading it. You may even find it helpful. Maybe you needed this encouragement today. Maybe you needed to hear that you’re not alone in feeling like an imposter.

The truth is, a writer is simply someone who writes.

Call yourself a writer as soon as you start writing. A poet is simply someone who writes poetry. Have you written a poem? Then don’t be afraid to call yourself a poet.

Let your readers decide whether or not what you produce is worth reading. I’m sure you’ve read something “popular” that you consider to be poorly written. It doesn’t matter how objectively "good" it is — if people want to read it, it was worth publishing. If someone wants to read that poorly-written-but-popular work, why do you think no one would want to read what you’ve written?

Hone your skills. Keep writing better and better poetry. But ultimately, what matters than what you’ve written is that you’ve written. You’ve put a part of yourself out there into the world, and chances are you will make someone’s life better by doing so.

If you’re still writing, there is probably someone in your life who has liked something you’ve written in the past. When you feel imposter syndrome setting in, think of that person. Write for him.

{today’s exercise}

Think of one person who has enjoyed something you’ve written, and write a poem for him. You don’t have to share it, but let this person inspire your words. Keep this person in mind as you write. Maybe it’s a poem in the form of a letter. Maybe it’s inspired by his interests or something he has said. Maybe it’s a sequel to a poem you wrote that he liked.

{my process & my poem}

I wrote this poem for a fellow writer.

I love your way with words.

I love the way you see the world
and seek to share your view,
recording word-pictures —
your mind’s eye your camera lens.

I love how you seek out the beautiful
without denying the existence of the ugly;
how you recognize that the splendor of light
is seen best in stark contrast to darkness.

I love how you write your own story
without trying to control the narrative;
simply recording the plot twists
as a way to celebrate triumph over conflict.

I love the way you use your words to heal
and encourage and strengthen,
using your gift to bless others…
using it to bless me.

I love your way with words