Did you see the Cilla Black biopic with Sheridan Smith?
This scene, where Sheridan sings as Cilla, where she says, quite disbelievingly, “it’s gone to number one,” is so powerful and emotional it brings me to tears every time. And oh! The beautiful emotion on her face as she sings. Goodness me. My eyes fill. With good tears, that is. Happy tears.
Yet Sheridan has said about her performances that, “I always feel like a bit of a fraud, but so far I’ve not been found out.”
My writing journey has been long and it has only recently started to take off. Reason being? I was scared. Oh, I’m not that good, I’d think to myself. Other people are better than me.
My husband would get so frustrated. “You’re so much better than you think you are,” he’d say.
But of course he’d say that, I’d counter in my head. He’s my husband.
I don’t have formal training as a writer. I did Business Studies at university. I still get confused between a noun, verb, adjective and other words that start making me sweat like I’m about to take an exam.
I felt, because writing wasn’t something I wanted to do since I was knee-high, because I didn’t have a burning ambition to write throughout my teens, that it isn’t something I should be doing now.
I am a fraud. One day someone will find me out.
Yet I can’t stop myself.
I keep going.
Trying not to feel that at any moment someone with laugh and point and say, “who the hell does she think she is, calling herself a writer?”
Even now, someone will tell me that they love my writing. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I smile. And I try and ignore the voice that says, “Really? You? A writer?”
Do you suffer from imposter syndrome? Do you feel that one day you’re going to be ‘found out’? Or, as Sheridan says, “‘I don’t think I deserve to be here. I’m just a complete scrubber from Donny Doncaster. I’m just blagging it.’”
Jen Carrington has helped me enormously through her coaching. With her help I have honed what I want to write about and have just embarked on a new writing project. Listen to her podcast on imposter syndrome. It’s only eight minutes long but incredibly helpful.
As Jen says, “too often we give the noise of others too much power in our lives and decisions we make.” I so agree. I also think it is often our ‘imagined’ noise of others, too. What will X think if I write this? Or Y think if I write that?
I don’t think these voices or feelings will ever fully go away. It is a side effect of being creative; of having that vulnerability about us that makes us better writers.
But every now and then we should remind ourselves: the only person we need to impress is our own self.