Meg Stewart

#Writer & content creator, #coach, #author. Software go-to-gal. Farm girl at heart. Founder Freelance Filter, Mom of four, Grammi of 10. Fi

Apr 13, 2022
Published on: Medium
2 min read

5 things you can do to conquer your inner critic

Photo by on Unsplash

I’ve been freelance writing and teaching for over two decades and trust me when I say even the most experienced professionals face imposter syndrome.

It’s okay and totally normal to feel like an imposter or like your writing isn’t good enough. You are not alone.

In fact, I’ve never met a writer or anyone really that doesn’t struggle with imposter syndrome at some point. To make matters worse, it can rear it’s ugly head at the most inopportune moments, like as you’re trying to work on that pitch to a publication which you know is perfect for you. Or the night before your first freelance project is due to be submitted.

It happens to all of us.

It’s that feeling you get that what you’re writing or creating just isn’t good enough. If you’ve ever written something and then didn’t finish it, didn’t hit publish, or didn’t send it to an editor because all of a sudden you think “wow, this is crap” you’ve experienced imposter syndrome.

If you’ve ever read something by someone else in your niche or topic and thought “wow, I’ll never write as good as that”, “why would anyone read my stuff instead of this” or “who do I think I am, I can’t write like that”, you’ve experienced imposter syndrome.

If you’ve ever felt like your writing isn’t as good as someone else’s, is boring, or thought maybe you should give up on writing because you’ll never be as good as your-favorite-writer, you’ve experienced imposter syndrome.

It can sneak up on even the most experienced of writers, especially if they are breaking into a new genre, topic, niche, etc.

The good news is, there are ways to conquer the negativity of imposter syndrome. I can’t say you’ll never deal with again but you can greatly reduce the impact it has on you.

Keep reading to find out what you can do.

Network with Other Writers

Talk to other writers about your current projects. Share your struggles and your successes.

Find at least one person who will celebrate your progress. Better yet, join a writing community, like Ninja Writers (not an affiliate link), so you can regularly network with other writers.

Talk about writing formats, voice, and style with other writers. Every writer thinks about throwing in the towel at some point. Other writers can lift you up and give you the courage and confidence to keep going when you feel like giving up.

Connect with other writers where they are. Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and many other social media platforms have active communities of writers. Find the community that suits you and get involved.

Share your work, get feedback from other writers and give them feedback on their writing.

Give Yourself Grace

Remember that even the most professional, experienced writers are human. We all make mistakes. When someone points out a mistake or you realize you made one, don’t be too hard on yourself.

The important thing is to learn from your mistakes rather than to keep repeating them. Give yourself some grace. Correct mistakes when possible and do it differently or better the next time.

Forgive yourself as you would forgive others and keep writing.

Remind Yourself of the Value of Writing

Written content is everywhere. It’s vital to the successful operation of society and business.

This is even more true in recent years. When you begin to feel like your writing doesn’t matter, take a look around.

Billboards, commercials and ads, movies, websites, social media, e-commerce and packaging, curriculum and grant proposals, newspapers, video scripts, and of course books, writing is everywhere.

Content is a vital part of our world and all writers contribute to that.

Remember our work matters to the world.

Review How Far You’ve Come

Writers are continually improving their craft. It can be hard to see how much progress you’ve made if you don’t make the time to review your past work and accomplishments.

Think back to what you were doing a year ago. Review some of your writing from the past. How about three years ago? What have you learned? What’s different about your work, your finances, and other areas of your life?

Chances are you’ve made significant progress, give yourself credit for that.

As you review your previous writing, identify pieces that you can polish up. Now that you have additional knowledge and experience, publish those forgotten pieces or send them off for consideration with a magazine or publication and see what happens.

Focus on the accomplishments and progress you’ve made so far.

Expand your Creative Activity

When you find yourself feeling bored with your writing or feeling like your writing is stale or not good enough, try something else creative.

Learning something new, especially if it’s a creative venture, can be a great way to build confidence and give new life to your writing.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to dabble in design or calligraphy. Learn photography so you can use your own photos instead of stock photos. Take a painting or sculpting class or try your hand at scriptwriting or podcasting.

You’ll be surprised at what trying out other creative pursuits can do for your writing and for your confidence.

Help Others

Writing has always been an isolated profession. But with the progress in technology and the publishing industry, it doesn’t have to be that way any longer.

Reach out to writers who are new to the profession and share what you know with them. Just like in other professions, mentoring others whether formally or informally can give new life to your writing, help build your brand, and position you as an authority in your topic.

You’ll be surprised at what you can learn and at how your writing comes to life when you make time to help other writers.

Go above and beyond to help someone else get the information you wish you had when you first started writing.

So, put a few of these into practice, starting today. And the next time imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, you’ll be ready to send it packing and keep on writing!

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Meg Stewart has been freelancing for nearly two decades. She’s a multi-passionate skill hoarder and the intersection of freelance writing, technology, and teaching is her sweet spot. Freelance Ladder was founded to help writers get paid and help solopreneurs do business better. Meg and her family, (along with two dogs, two cats, and two leopard geckos), live in Northeast Ohio.