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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Kicklighter

Imposter Syndrome & the Audacity of Cats

First things first, the good news: We are less than three weeks out from the cover reveal for Of Beast & Burden, and with every passing second the odds of me blowing this secret by accidentally sharing it lessen infinitesimally. So, yay!

I just got my second round of content edits back, and I thought maybe now would be a good time to to talk about the monster underneath every writer's (and creative's) bed: Imposter Syndrome.

When I first got my publishing contract, I thought having someone look at my manuscript and actually want to publish it would make me feel like I belonged here, that my words were worth reading.

Spoiler alert: that feeling lasts maaaaaybe as long as it takes to get your first round of edits back.

Not that my editor was in any way to blame - she was super sweet and incredibly helpful. But she did her job, and she did it well. (Side note - if you're ever thinking of self-publishing, please please please hire an editor. Trust me.)

Something about seeing my editor's notes hit a vulnerable note inside me that reverberated with all the insecurities I've felt about my writing my entire life: that no one would ever want to read my books, and that I was fooling myself for thinking so. Well.

It took a while to work myself out of that funk. But eventually I sucked it up, rolled my sleeves up, and got to work. Because if there's one thing I can do, it's put in the work to make this dream happen. No grit, no pearl. And I turned in my edits feeling like I'd actually accomplished something, knowing OBAB would be better for them. It felt like a victory.

One that faded surprisingly fast every time I took a look at the draft I have so far of OBAB2.

And then I saw this tweet:

Screenshot of tweet by Jennifer Adcock (@JenKatWrites)
Screenshot of tweet by Jennifer Adcock (@JenKatWrites)

Listen, I've gathered so far that Imposter's Syndrome is cyclical. I've not found a way to get past it yet. But I think this tweet gave me an idea...

Do you remember the Serenity Prayer? I heard it a lot growing up, but I'm not sure if that's a Southern thing or if maybe the people around me just felt like they needed extra patience.

Anyway, I'm adopting something I'm calling the Imposter's Prayer. Say it with me if you'd like:

Grant me the patience with myself I need when I don't get things perfect the first time, the perseverance to do hard things, and the convictions of a cat.

Yes, the convictions of a cat, to not only believe in myself, but to do so with a level of audacity that is both puzzling and endearing to humans.

I'll let you know if it works.


Of Beast & Burden is a Young Adult Fantasy novel coming May 10th, 2022. You can add the book on Goodreads or pre-order it on Amazon.

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