Are you an Imposter?

When I first discovered writing conferences, the other attendees were super welcoming, especially at SMIAH in Kansas City. I totally fan-girled over some of the authors, and I loved being around people that had a passion for the written word, like I do. Despite that, I felt like I had a deep dark secret. (I’d never finished a novel!) I didn’t feel like I could call myself an author if I didn’t have a book with my name on it. I was a pretender. An imposter, really.

It wasn’t long before I learned that Imposter Syndrome is a real thing, and that it’s super common among beginning, intermediate and advanced writers. Success is an elusive and nebulous idea. Even authors who have achieved significant financial success often feel like imposters around those with literary awards, and those with the awards don’t feel like real authors without the commercial success.

This year I was asked to serve on the committee for SMIAH. Because of COVID, we were forced to postpone the full conference until 2021, so we opted to host a FREE, virtual one-day writing event for 2020. We called it SMIAH Mini, and if you’re a writer, definitely go sign up for it at www.smiahwritersconference.com. We have almost 30 mini writing classes, 2 live panels, as well as writing contests and fantastic prizes. It takes place this Saturday, September 26th, and the recordings will be available through October 31st!

It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve had a blast working on SMIAH Mini–coordinating the contests, editing video content and helping with publicity. All of us on the committee recorded a mini-class, and I chose to present on Imposter Syndrome. This was my first “YouTube” video, and it is totally disconcerting to watch a video of yourself, but I hope it will be helpful to the hundreds of attendees who have already signed up! The writing world is a close-knit group and nobody needs to waste energy feeling like they don’t belong.

A Vote of Confidence

Interruptions are everywhere this week with doctor appointments and half-days at school, but I am getting words in every chance I get. It is so easy to let a lack of progress raise doubts as to my ability to finish this book.

As luck would have it, my award certificates and prize money from a writing conference I attended last fall finally came in the mail. My kiddos were very impressed, and it has helped me push away the doubts.

It was just the vote of confidence I needed!

I actually attended two writing conferences last fall, before NaNoWriMo. Both of the conferences were extremely helpful. The Rochester Writers Conference was local, but its writing contests are open to all. The other one, SMIAH–Storymakers Midwest Indie Author Hub, was in Kansas City.

SMIAH has a number of mini-writing contests, open only to conference attendees. The prizes were small, but I challenged myself to enter as many as possible. You can’t win if you don’t enter, right? As you can see below, I did very well. The best part was that I learned a ton pushing myself to meet the demands of the contests, and as an added bonus, it gave me a lot of visibility as an author at the conference, which led to invitations to join much-needed critique groups.

SMIAH 2019 prizes & certificates

Another result of my contest winnings was that I have been asked to serve on the SMIAH 2020 Committee, and oversee the contests. I won’t be able to enter their contests this time, but I am excited to be able to help other writers get that same vote of confidence in their writing!

*One fun side note: This was my second time going to SMIAH. I won a number of their contests in 2018, as well. One of which was to help name the keynote speaker, Heather B. Moore’s, next book. I won, and the prize was that she would use my name for one of her characters. At this last conference, I just happened to win that very book, pictured above. So, if you read All for You, look for Sarah Lynne. 🙂