Episode 12: Who’s the Imposter?

The Time is Right
The Time is Right
Episode 12: Who's the Imposter?

Are You a Creative Fraud?

Some refer to this as Imposter Syndrome, but that can be a serious condition, and while it doesn’t have an official diagnosis, psychologists treat it seriously. Untreated, the effects can be devastating. If you believe your condition is serious or chronic, seek a professional therapist.

What we’re talking about are the feelings creatives get periodically where we believe our work doesn’t stand up to that of others or the vision we set for ourselves.

Feeling like a Creative fraud.

In this episode, John and Kevin discuss the times they’ve experienced this and what they’ve done to cope with and get beyond these periods.

Resources Mentioned:

Skill Share Guide: Creative Imposter Syndrome: How to Beat Feeling Like an Artistic Fraud

Time Article: How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome

APA Article: Feeling Like a Fraud

Psychology Today Article: Imposter Syndrome

An Introvert’s Guide to Beating Imposter Syndrome

Exploring the Craft

Suffering the Fear of Missing Out During NaNoWriMo Prep

You don’t have to write a novel this November

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) hits many writers at this time of year as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) preparations begin. We fear we don’t have any ideas, won’t have the time, or maybe just don’t want to write a novel but something else. What we’re afraid of missing is NaNo’s collective support and energy. All those write-ins, sprints, forum and Discord conversations, they provide a shared energy around writing like nothing else.

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

But if we don’t have an idea for a novel, or don’t feel we can commit to 50,000 words in a month, we’re going to miss all that writing positivity, and that hurts.

Any words written in November are words you won’t have to write in December.

But you don’t have to write 50,000 words of a novel to participate. You don’t even have to write 50,000 words of anything. Just write. Write when you can. Soak up some of that positive energy for yourself. Any words written in November are words you won’t have to write in December.

Here are things you can do instead of writing a novel. I’ve measured them out to be the equivalent of 50,000 words, but if that’s too big a commitment, set a smaller goal. Remember, the point is to participate in the community and energy.

  • Write 2 novellas or 4 novelettes. This allows you to switch projects if you wish to get a fresh perspective, or if you get blocked on one. Getting stuck is a reason some people don’t finish their November novel. Each of these suggestions has the advantage of not getting bogged down in a single project. With these projects, you’ll also have more works ready to revise and send out or publish later.
  • Write 12 short stories. I did this one, and 6 stories ended up as the basis for a novel later, but I spent the month writing a dozen short stories ranging from 1,500 to 7,000 words. If you submit regularly to fiction markets, this can be a good way to boost your submissions in 2022.
  • Write 30 poems. This may or may not hit 50k words, but has its own reward. I know there’s National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo in April, but why not use this one too. This is the project I’ll be doing this year and my goal will be to have 30 revised and edited poems by the end of November, so my work level will be the same as if I wrote a novel.
  • Write 50 Flash pieces. Assuming 1k words per flash.

You get the point. Yes, to officially ‘win’ NaNoWriMo you must write 50k words for a novel, but I think winning at NaNo means participating in the worldwide community of writers and sharing in the creative energy that participation creates.

During October, I’ll help your NaNoWriMo prep by publishing prompts and tips for each of these project types. Sign up for the Exploring the Craft newsletter for a monthly digest of articles. You can also join my Discord Community for writing related conversation, support, and co-working.

Author Resources: 8/16/2019

Our list of tips, information, and other resources for the working writers of speculative literature.

Genre Focused:

  • Filling in Your Story’s Middle – at Mythcreants
  • Depicting Characters Held Back by Fear – Mythcreants
  • As I Learn: How Your Story Beast Moves – Fantasy Faction
  • Military Logistics for Fantasy Writers – at the SFWA


  • Evidence Suggests an Underground of Roman Sorcery in Pompeii – from Ancient Origins


Beta Readers and Critique Partners

When do you need a beta reader, or should you find a critique partner? The answer is yes.

Any writer serious about creating the best story they can will probably find they need both a critique partner and beta reader.

What’s the difference? A critique partner is usually a fellow writer, or an editor, who reads a manuscript with the intention of pointing out the story’s strengths and weaknesses. Good critiques often ask questions to help the author think through some of the choices they made. Things like: is this the best POV to tell the story from? Is the story structure solid? An so on. Questions and comments a general reader is unlikely to ask, but the author needs to consider.

A beta reader is a reader. Usually and avid one, and often focused on a group of favorite genres. Most beta readers are not experienced writers (although many experienced writers also beta read). But a beta reader’s feedback is important because it tells a writer how a typical reader might react to the story. Often a beta may point out some confusion about something in the story and the author realizes they haven’t actually written all of the words that were in their head.

So is a critique partner is better than a beta reader? No. Each perform a specific function. Barbara Linn Probst reported on the findings of a study she did which explains how they are different and when each is used.

For genre writers, it’s important to have genre knowledgeable beta readers and critique partners. The reader will tell you if the story is working in its intended genre, and the critique should tell you if the genre story is working.