Well…it looks like I was wrong. Because this is a real novel. That I wrote. (Well, that I co-wrote. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing this post tonight if it weren’t for Kit. The power of a co-author cannot be underestimated, guys.) It looks real — the cover art looks pretty darn official, and Kit did a phenomenal job with the interior formatting — but in a week or two it’s going to be in my hands, and I’m going to have to believe it really is real.
And I’m having a real book launch, and people I know are excited to read it (which is oddly terrifying), and it has its very own Goodreads page.
The funny thing is, I’ve been an author for a while. For the past five years, I’ve been steadily writing short stories right here on this site — you can find them under Freebies and in every anthology we’ve done — as well as a lot of blogging over here. And as for how long I’ve been a writer…well, since I learned the alphabet, pretty much.
But somehow a novel is different.
(It’s not the first novel I’ve written, not by a long shot. But it is the first one I’ve published. Again, I blame Kit.)
Last week I was asked to speak to an editing class about Turtleduck Press, my writing, and how I balance everything with a day job (which is also word-related). The more I talked about it, the more amazed everyone was. Funny thing is, it doesn’t feel amazing from the inside. I spend a lot of time bumbling around and questioning my life choices and going down the Internet rabbit hole, and in between all of that I manage to get stuff done occasionally. (Of course I know I’m not alone. I collect blog posts about creators I respect who struggle with all the same things. Sometimes it even helps.)
When you hang around online with a lot of other writers, as I do, it’s easy to forget that we are in fact an anomaly. A rarity. My writer friends are excited for me because they know what it takes; my non-writer friends are excited because they don’t know many other writers. They don’t live and breathe publishing. It’s easy to forget how much I’ve learned over the years, first about writing, then about publishing, then about indie publishing (and still and always more about writing). It’s not common knowledge; it’s not something that just everyone does. Or can do.
The root of imposter syndrome is fear. If I’m honest about why I haven’t published a novel before now (unlike my three Turtleduck Press colleagues), it’s because of fear. And the Internet, but that too boils down to fear. I would quite possibly have declined that speaking gig, too, if I hadn’t had a novel to promote. But I did it, and I was slightly terrified, but it turned out just fine. And nobody called me an imposter, either.
I’m sure I’ll have many more imposter feelings in the months and years to come. But it’s nice, just for once, to feel that I’m exactly where I belong.