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Picture of book proposal coach Richelle Fredson seated. She talks with author Terri Trespicio about imposter syndrome and the myth of waiting for inspiration.

The Truth About Imposter Syndrome & Inspiration

So, if you’re ready to kick imposter syndrome to the curb and grab your book-writing journey by the horns, you’re in the right place.

The Truth About Imposter Syndrome & Inspiration

The shadow of imposter syndrome looms large for most aspiring authors.

Believe it or not, that little devil of a voice is something established authors – and humans – wrestle with.

The good news is that wading through the mud of self-doubt isn’t just do-able; it’s a must-do to realize your book (or any other!) dream.

Not too long ago, I had the chance to chat with Terri Trespicio—an absolute powerhouse of a writer, speaker, and brand advisor, who also happens to be one of Hubspot’s “Top 18 Female Speakers Who Are Killing It.”

We dove into some pretty juicy topics on my Bound + Determined podcast, including imposter syndrome and the oh-so-common myth that you should wait around for inspiration to hit you like a lightning bolt.

Spoiler alert: that’s not how writing works.

Terri got real candid about her writing journey and shared some golden nuggets from her book, Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life That Matters to You

And let me tell you, this post is packed with insights that’ll shake up the way you think about yourself as a writer and your writing.

So, if you’re ready to think about imposter syndrome in a more productive way so you can take your book-writing journey by the horns, you’re in the right place.

Let’s go!

Why Imposter Syndrome is a Waste of Time and Energy

Terri kicked off our conversation by dropping some truth serum: dwelling on impostor syndrome is simply a waste of your time. 

Despite all the advice out there about the benefits of overcoming it, Terri believes that engaging the idea is useless because it only promotes dwelling on your doubts and insecurities. 

As she says, “The more you focus on your imposter syndrome, you have to argue with it – and I don’t argue with people I don’t respect.” Hell ya!

“The more you focus on your imposter syndrome, you have to argue with it – and I don’t argue with people I don’t respect.” – Terri Trespicio

The reality is that everyone experiences a lack of confidence and uncertainty when doing new things — and that’s a good thing! It means you’re stretching, growing and doing something outside your comfort zone like writing a book. 

But as useless as imposter syndrome is, it will always be there, so shifting the emphasis from ruminating to actually doing something about it makes more sense.

In the next section, we’ll explore how to do it.

Taking Action as the Antidote

You know, beating impostor syndrome isn’t just trying to power through it; it’s more about getting out there and taking action. 

Think about it: when you sit down to write, create, or share your thoughts with the world, you’re not just doing something cool—you’re facing your fears and thereby giving impostor syndrome a run for its money.

A helpful shift in perspective is to consider that nagging feeling of not being good enough as your ticket to explore new and exciting parts of yourself. 

After all, the willingness to step into the unfamiliar without the assurance of success distinguishes those who let impostor syndrome define them from those who transcend it.

The leap of faith required to become a published author is not just a test of courage but a necessary step toward finding one’s voice and place in the creative world.

But let’s be real: stepping into the unknown can feel like a giant leap, especially if you’re starting out on your writing journey. 

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to take a new view of writing while scared.

The Creative Journey as a Path of Discovery

Terri encourages other authors to think of the creative journey as one of continuous learning and discovery. 

The very essence of creativity demands venturing into the unknown, making peace with the discomfort of not belonging, and embracing the process of becoming. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll always have absolute confidence, and that’s not the point. 

As you commit to a blueprint and work through it, you’ll become more willing to take risks and accept vulnerability – a critical part of the creative process – because your confidence with grow and you’ll validate your idea.

Embracing Vulnerability in Creative Work

Here’s something you may not want to hear: creativity thrives on vulnerability. 

Ah … great news, right? 

Your willingness to expose your thoughts, experiences, and emotions makes writing resonate with authenticity and power.

As Terri says, “Writing is a different kind of naked.”

Nonetheless, the idea of doing anything is a risk. If you allow that risk to rule you, you cut off any potential to be known, unique or different. 

This vulnerability allows writers to connect deeply with your audience, offering a piece of yourself in your work. 

The act of sharing something personal —whether it’s a story, a novel idea, or an innovative solution—is inherently risky. 

Yet, it’s precisely this risk that opens the door to being recognized for your unique contributions. 

Vulnerability is not just about the courage to be seen; it’s about the strength to embrace uncertainty and proceed despite the fear of criticism, failure, or rejection. 

A New View on Rejection

If you follow any of your favorite authors, including Terri, you’ve likely heard them talk about having their first book proposal rejected. 

It’s so common that it’s fair to say that getting a “No” is an inevitable part of the writing process, and yet, it stings.

So now that’s out in the open, Terri and I would like to offer some insight.

If an agent or publisher rejects you, it’s natural to feel like it’s a reflection on your  worth or work. 

However, agents and publishers often reject book proposals because they don’t fit with their needs, the editors’ preferences or market trends.

I prefer to think about rejection as a detour on the way to finding the right fit. Getting turned down doesn’t say anything about how awesome you are or what you bring to the table. 

And, you don’t want representation that is not 100% behind your book and you as an author, so rejection can be a blessing in disguise.  

Separating the Writer from the Work

When dealing with all the feels that come with writing at every stage of the process, a helpful strategy is to separate yourself from your work. 

In practice, this means not taking it personally when someone critiques or suggests changes to your writing.

Terri shares that if you can’t separate yourself from your work, you can’t see it as its own entity. 

In other words, if you’re too wrapped up in thinking your writing is like an extension of yourself, any feedback that isn’t glowing can feel like a punch in the gut. 

But if you can see your work as independent of you, it’s way easier to take criticism in stride and improve upon the work.

This perspective also makes you a better editor, judge, and champion, which means your book ends up stronger and more polished in the end.

And finally, as I always say in my programs, your book is about you, not for you. 

Welcome the feedback others share as they will be the ones buying and reading your book!

Now before we close out this post, there’s one last important point that can affect your feelings of imposter syndrome: the idea of waiting for inspiration. 

Terri has a lot to say on this so I encourage you to listen to the episode, but first, read on!

The Difference Between Inspiration and Motivation

A lot of aspiring authors I meet at my free monthly Aspiring Authors Assembly and on calls believe that they should be waiting for inspiration to sit down and write.

But contrary to the romanticized version of authorship, inspiration is fleeting and unsustainable. 

As Terri shares in the pod episode, there’s a difference between motivation and inspiration.

Terri defines inspiration as the initial spark or the a-ha moment when you have that big idea for your book. 

On the other hand, motivation is the engine that drives the creative process. The key to sustaining motivation is continuous engagement with the work, even in the face of self-doubt or criticism. 

Terri also makes another great point: there will never be perfect conditions for inspiration or motivation.

That’s why having a close circle of people who can support you in different ways is key, such as:

  • Find a mentor to gently steer you in the right direction and have them on call
  • Bounce ideas around in a brainstorming session with a coach 1:1 sessions
  • Feel camaraderie with fellow writers in a writing group or at a free gathering
  • Schedule time in your calendar to write when you’re sharpest and have the most energy
  • Meditate, listen to music or free-write before you work on your book

Finding your unique mix of support will keep you motivated and accountable to your goals and make you feel like you’re part of something bigger. 

Surrounding yourself with others can seriously light a fire under your butt and get your creative brain buzzing with inspiration. 

Books are not written in solitude! 

Sit Down Imposter Syndrome. Stand Up Motivation!

Alright, let’s put a bow on this.

We’ve waded through the mud of imposter syndrome and poked holes in the idea of divine inspiration with Terri Trespicio.

If there’s anything to take away from our chat, the road to writing isn’t paved by some lightbulb moment. 

Nope, it’s all about getting your hands dirty and embracing every bit of the process, including the inevitable feelings of imposter syndrome. 

Terri’s reframing of self-doubt and fear of failure as a representation of growth and expansion is an excellent and productive way to push through these very human feelings. 

And remember, it’s our shared stories, stumbles, and successes make this writing adventure worth it.

Creativity Loves Company – When we bounce ideas off each other and mix things up, the real magic happens. Register for the next free Aspiring Authors’ Assembly here if you want to break out of your bubble and share the book-writing journey with others who understand its highs and lows.

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Picture of book proposal coach Richelle Fredson seated. She talks with author Terri Trespicio about imposter syndrome and the myth of waiting for inspiration.

The Truth About Imposter Syndrome & Inspiration

So, if you’re ready to kick imposter syndrome to the curb and grab your book-writing journey by the horns, you’re in the right place.

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