• Daniela Sylmae

Writer's Journey | Chapter 6: When She Dared to Dream Despite the Imposter Syndrome

"The scariest moment is always just before you start." - Stephen King

The start of a new year is the chance to start anew. It is a new chapter waiting for the next part of your story. It smells like a new book, and it has the same lift that the corners of lips do when there's a hint of enthusiasm and hope.

Oftentimes, a goal or resolution at the start of a new year is dressed in the fine robes of keenness, but it has the jitters of naivety underneath its sleeves. Yet, every year, we are astounded by the eye-catching robes that we forget the fact that elegance fades with the wear and tear of twelve months.

I do not believe there's anything wrong with having a resolution, let alone a goal. If anything, I think they are as important as the dreams that sparked them. However, I do believe we need to stop this idea that we give up on our resolutions or goals within the first three months of the new year or that we've failed and therefore we just stop trying.

Instead, we need to see our New Years Resolutions as we do our dreams, for dreams change as we grow. Why does this not apply to our goals for the new year?

At the start of 2021, I dealt with a writer's worst nightmare for the first ten days. I had writer's block. I didn't know what to write, and yet I had so much to write. I have projects to work on, stories to think of, blog posts to write up... My writer's desk is never clear of paper, and yet I couldn't bring myself to write a single word.

After I've realized that I have writer's block, I am then hit with the next best thing: imposter syndrome.

A buzzing noise flies around my head constantly reminding me that I am not who I am. I am a pretender and a liar. I am not meant to write stories. I can never write a single word that will mean anything to anyone. No one will read my work, because it's the hands of an imposter that wrote them.

I've convinced myself that these things are true a number of times, and I almost did again during those first ten days of 2021. Without my writing, I feel voiceless, and how can I fight back when I have no voice?

One day, however, I decided to just let it be. I didn't want to fight it. It felt like every time I tried before, it just pulled me in deeper, and next thing you know, months have gone by without me writing a single word.

So, instead, I looked back at my planner for 2021 and remembered that I have many other goals I wish to accomplish, both professional and personal. The one that appealed to me the most, however, was reading.

I noticed last year that I spent a lot of time watching videos on YouTube. Though that habit won't die anytime soon, I know I can manage it by only watching new videos from my favorite YouTubers and stopping myself when I notice that I'm re-watching the same video for the 120th time. That is time I can spend reading, I told myself, and so reading more became one of my top goals for 2021.

With that in mind, I picked up a book, 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' by Suzanne Collins, and I started to read. Next thing you know, I'm 100 pages deep, gasping at the shocking cliffhanger and dying to read the next chapter.

Though not all readers are writers, all writers must be readers, or as Stephen King once said, they do not have the time or the tools to write. And how lovely it is to be a reader.

What a gift it is to find yourself lost in the pages of a book, lost within a world far from our own, lost among the characters you grow close to... and what a gift it is to write and get lost in your own words, your own world, your own characters...

It turns out that a reminder of why I love storytelling is the perfect trap for the buzzing flies that are imposter syndrome.

I look back to my planner with all my goals: to self-publish my collection of short stories, to take a new course in creative writing, to find a writer's group or critique partner, to upgrade my author platform, etc.

The nerves crept in once more. What if I can't do this? What if I'm not meant to? What if I really am an imposter?

And then I told myself, what if I just changed my goals? What if I adapted them to fit my current mindset and lifestyle? What if instead of trying to fit into box, I built my box as I went along?

I believe wholeheartedly that goals are important and deadlines are useful. However, the universe, as we all have recently learned, has its own plans. There is nothing wrong with changing your goals just as your dreams naturally do when you change. If anything, it is just another sign that you are growing as a person and your character arc is still in development.

Goals change, because people change.

I still want to accomplish all those goals I mentioned earlier. I've simply changed how I approach them both in creating smaller, manageable goals and in adjusting my perspective on them. It's possible in a few months from now, they'll change yet again, and that's okay.

You can find many hiking trails to see the same wonderful sight at the top of the mountain, and if possible, you can take your time exploring each one until you suddenly realize you're at the top. All you have to do is start hiking and keep taking one step after another.

At the end of the day, my dream is to be a published author. I have explored many hiking trails to get there, and here I am on yet another one, still taking one step after another. And yes, there are swarms of imposter syndrome flies at times, but I've got bug spray.