Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Whole 'Imposter' Thing

One of the things I really don't understand is 'imposter syndrome' (as people call it). I honestly just don't. Never have. I don't even understand how people can feel like an 'imposter' at a job they're doing. An imposter is someone practicing deception.

So if you are doing the job you're not an imposter now, are you?

In a lot of trades, a -lot- of trades, there is a process you go through:

  • Apprentice,
  • Journeyman,
  • Master.

While the names aren't always the same, you get the idea.

  • You start off as someone new to a craft and you learn it. Some learn faster or slower than others, but it's a process.
  • Once you -understand- the craft you begin to practice it on your own and learn the finer details as you grow in skill and understanding. You're a Journeyman - you're on your 'journey' of learning.
  • Then at some point you become a Master at your craft. You've learned the lessons and paid your dues and you are definitely on your own.

So I don't get where the whole 'imposter' bit comes from. No, you're an apprentice. You're learning. You're uncomfortable because you're learning. It's not uncommon for an apprentice to throw up their hands and go 'I don't know what I'm doing'.

The journeyman looks at something and while he knows how to do it, may decide to try something different so that they can learn something new, something more.

The Master already knows what works and what doesn't, and knows what and how they're going to take on a job.

As an engineer, I went through these levels of understanding.

And as a writer I have most definitely gone through them.

When I look back on things I've written, and how well I've done so far on my path in this career, I have never once said or thought 'I'm an imposter!' How could I? I've been doing the work and learning the trade. I very much remember my 'apprentice' years and I also understand when I graduated to the next stage of being a 'journeyman' in it.

As for whether or not I'm a 'Master' at it? Maybe one day I'll feel that I am, or maybe one day someone will tell me that I'm 'there'. For me, while I've learned my style and my 'method' I guess you would say, of writing and storytelling, I do feel that there is still more to learn. Though now, for me, most of that learning comes from doing, then looking at the finished product and seeing how it is received.

So stop with the whole 'imposter' nonsense. You're either an apprentice on the road to becoming a journeyman, or you've just set your foot on the Journeyman's path. Having concerns is natural. Now, ignore those fears and get to work.


  1. Anonymous10:18 PM

    I can see entertainers having imposter syndrome. You may be at the apprentice stage and are suddenly world famous with on hit. Authors, not so much.

  2. I had to look up what 'imposter syndrome' was because I had not heard of it before. From the definition I read, it's not that they don't believe they're doing their job, it's that they don't feel successful at it. The pro athletes with multimillion dollar contracts, but no championship, the author with a list of bestselling books, but no Hugo, Pulitzer, or other prize. Musicians without a Grammy.

    It seems to just be a form of low self-esteem.

    So what's up next on the writing calendar for you? I want to give you some more money.

    1. Taking Ground just went live on Amazon, see my most recent post for a link. Working on the next Valens Heritage book as of today.

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  4. I have had one major change in career in my life so far. I worked 9 years for an insurance company and now I do IT service work and hardware support for small company for the last 12 years. When I transitioned to IT I had the knowledge that I could do the work but it wasn't until I completed my first service call that I realized that I could continue on this path.

    That is where the key lies, I think. Once you take that first step you should be self-aware enough to know that you can continue one the journeyman path that you are on.

    Too many people are only going through the motions though, and have not reached that self-awareness/self-assuredness that is necessary to continue as a journeyman, regardless of the field.

    The realization of "Yes, I *can* do this!" is necessary to be a journeyman in a field and I've met too many people who have the head-knowledge to do the job but don't have that internal push to move from apprentice to journeyman.

    Their will alone prevents them from realizing that they aren't imposters.

  5. I had to look up Imposter Syndrome too.

    I ended up here checking if you published outside of Amazon.

    Parenthetical aside; (If I can find a product I need or want outside Amazon, even if it's a few bucks more I'll go there instead.)

    Having said that I might chew my nose a bit but won't bit it off to spite my face. Living at the end of a long supply line, North Pole, Alaska, if I hav'ta, I'll buy from them.) I just bought the paper, Stand Alone, from Amazon, I like the kindle format even less, all my e-books are .epub.

    I've read some of your other works and expect I'll quite enjoy it.


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