If I’m being honest with myself, if I saw a band with the name Imposter Syndrome on a flyer at my favorite local show venue (big love to Reggie’s on 42nd Street in Wilmington, NC!), I’d go see them. The name kind of gives some post-nu-metal rap fusion vibes, but I’d put down the cover to see them.
Imposter Syndrome, in a context fit for an author’s blog, is the phenomenon when an author feels like a fraud, and has an overwhelming conviction of such to the point they undermine the validity of their body of work. Hi, my name is A.P. Miller, and I have Imposter Syndrome.
I’m writing about Imposter Syndrome today because I saw a quote on TikTok (for the love of Christ, the amount of time I have burned on that app is OBSCENE) that said “Imposters don’t have Imposter Syndrome.” The quote was meant to make authors feel better about having Imposter Syndrome, but it gave me anxiety that maybe I’m not worried about Imposter Syndrome enough. Am I a fraud who is not worried enough about being a fraud? I feel like that concern is called a “hat trick” in the world of anxiety, commonly known as a “twofer.”
Imposter Syndrome hit me early and smacked me on the ass with force. In fact, Imposter Syndrome kept me from beginning my writing journey at a young age. I’ve always liked telling stories—I’d play with my action figures, coming up with wild adventures—and didn’t realize I was writing. I come from a very defeatist corner of the world. Instead of being excited about what you are capable of, the culture of the area was to protect yourself from what could go wrong. The emotional mutants of the area, capable of having visions of wild success, left the area in search of environments conducive to dreams. I never committed to writing with any seriousness because I didn’t see myself as someone who’d done the work to be deserving of being a writer. I didn’t take AP English, I didn’t take creative writing as an elective, and I didn’t read the same volume of books as the reigning Queen of the Bookworms (Courtney, my favorite Beta Reader). Because of the “protect yourself from failure” mentality of that village in the mountains, I had convinced myself I was disqualified from even trying.
What makes my Imposter Syndrome worse is that I’m not the only author from that sleepy mountain town. Poet & professor Wesley Scott McMasters and I are alumni of the same high school. Wesley was much younger than I, I’m fairly sure I could pick him out of a lineup, but our paths never crossed socially. Wesley’s academic pedigree is very impressive & his work is really good. For the longest time, I felt like I shouldn’t pick up the pen because I hadn’t put in the work others had. Would Wesley say I shouldn’t write because of that? I hope not. I can’t tell you I’d listen if he did.
What defeated my Imposter Syndrome enough to let me release Broken Promise Records (2017) was punk rock. To that point, I had created opportunities for myself, with what I had. I’d been on radio, television, created a really cool YouTube channel, with what I had. I wanted to be a writer, to write a novel, and spend my time creating a body of work, so I went and did it.
As much as I am writing this blog for your entertainment, I’m writing it as reassurance for me. To date, I’ve released three-and-a-half novels, amassed an incredibly supportive network of readers & writers, and I am proud to tell people I am an author. The thing is, I know where the flaws in my work and skills exist—my anxiety knows where those flaws sleep—and I need to be reminded that I’ve still created those works out of sheer will.
I have a talent for writing and I’d write even if no one read my work. I write because I’ve got stories in me and an obligation to leverage that talent of mine. All things considered, I am extremely fortunate to have folks who read my blogs, and my books. Being reminded of that helps lull the Imposter Syndrome to slumber.
Thank you for joining me on this trip across the Millerverse! I’ll see you next time.
*Number of times I’ve used the words “Imposter Syndrome”: 14, not including the title.
Songs Listened To While Writing This Blog:
- Big Fellah – Black 47
- Astro Zombies – Misfits
- Slowdown – Ignite
- Somethings Always Wrong – Toad the Wet Sprocket