Here’s something I hear A LOT
“I’m a fake writer”
“I haven’t finished anything and I feel crappy about it”
“I have no idea what I’m doing”
“It’s this big and scary and hard dream. I know it’s time. But I feel like I’m not a finisher”
Dirty secret—I hear variations of this shit talk from writers I admire! As in, folks who’ve been in the game for eons, with the kind of accolades that would make your head spin.
What separates the writers I admire from folks stuck in the Fake Writer Zone?
Well. It’s a magical Cure-All I strongly recommend you start taking right now. If you’re suffering from Writers’ Imposter Syndrome (Ms. WIP🧙♀️), you’re in the finest company. Here’s your Cure-All:
You don’t need to conquer your own personal Ms. WIP. Just write.
One paragraph, one scene is enough. Twenty minutes a day is amazing. Just write.
Trust me, Ms. WIP 🧙♀️ is gonna stay WIPissing all over your pages if you let her. That’s her job! Yours is to write. She’ll always have something spicy to say. I should know—I’ve been writing professionally for 6 years. With bylines, a ritzy MFA and fancy pants awards to prove it. And yet. Still. Ms. WIP’s got slick lines she tries throwing at me.
On the worst days, she’s loud AF and all I can get in, is just one sentence. I take it. On most days, I hear her clearing her throat to pipe up. But before she opens her mouth, I’ve already got my computer open and I’m mulling the next sentence. I thank Ms. WIP for doing what haters gonna do. And then I let her know Imma be over here fcn up the page. Translation? I write.
No matter how lousy or amazing your sentences—writing is your only guaranteed Cure-All.
Seeing you at work, Ms. WIP shuts the fc up. ALWAYS. Which isn’t to suggest she won’t have anything to say later on or tomorrow, or next week when you start revising those pages she thinks are trash.
Your job is NOT to make Ms. WIP disappear. Your job is to write.
Every writer I know and love and admire has their own version of Ms. WIP. The difference between them and everyone else is that they don’t make a fool’s errand their work. They accept the voice as part of the job and keep going. You can do that.
Wanna get started? Pull out your calendar and block 20 minutes every day for the next 7 days. If you’re ambitious, make it 60 or 90 minutes. Set a timer before you sit down. And write. There’s helpful apps that lock out the internet if that’s a distraction. But really, you don’t need all that.
And here’s the magic thing. The more Ms. WIP watches you working, the smaller her voice gets. She never disappears entirely. But she 💯 gets the hint and takes a hike. Periodically, she’ll drop in again to check if you’re “still working.”
“Hey Ms. WIP!” You’ll say. And then, like most of the writers you admire, you’ll tell that heifer to fc-off. Repeat after me:
“Thanks for hauling in the haterade. Imma be over here fcn up the page”