In 1989, my mother gave me a glitter-encrusted t-shirt that said:
“I’m a writer!”
(She gave my sister one that said, “I’m PMSing.”)
“You’re always saying you don’t think you’re a real writer,” my mom said, “but you are.”
I appreciated the sentiment. But I never wore the t-shirt.
Telling the world that I was a writer, in pink sparkles, wasn’t the way to go. And also, nothing I could wear would convince me I was one.
I’ve spent my life explaining how I wasn’t a real anything. A real writer, a real dancer—even though I danced and performed for years. I wasn’t a “real” dancer, in my mind, because I hadn’t started ballet at 4 years old.
Fill in this sentence:
“I’m not a real _____ because ______.”
Why? Because you haven’t done it your whole life? Because you haven’t been paid to do it? Because someone else is better at it than you are?
Fact 1: We have all felt like an impostor.
Fact 2: “Impostor” and “imposter” are both correct.
Fact 3: The only way to not feel like an imposter is to do one thing and never, ever try anything else.
In his new book The Practice (highly recommend!), Seth Godin says, “I feel like an impostor often. That’s because my best work involves doing things I’ve never done before.”
If you feel like a fraud, he writes, that’s a good sign. “It means that you’re doing important work.”
If you want to be real, you don’t write it on a shirt or in your bio. You show up to do real work. And keep showing up.
What would you do/create/make if you decided to write for a few focused minutes, every day for one week?
Let’s find out.
Start Writing starts next week—and it’s free. We meet every day May 17-21st (next week) from 1-2p ET.
**FOR THE FIRST TIME, Start Writing will meet face to face on Zoom (not via webinar). Because that’s as real as it gets!**
You don’t need to really be anything—except ready to write.
P.S. The Pop Up this Thursday just about full. Snag one of the last seats here.