Writer Imposter Syndrome: I’m Not an Expert Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Me

You know, that feeling you get when you’re trying to write something of value but you’re not an expert? The little voice that says you shouldn’t really be doing this because you’re not good enough? Today we’re talking about writer imposter syndrome.  When you’re not an expert in a niche or genre, you can’t help but think, who am I to write about this topic? Who’s even going to read it? (Thank you for taking the trouble by the way) The fear of inadequacy creeps in as you compare yourself to all those experts who actually are experts.

And at some point, isn’t everyone going to find out you’re a fraud?

You’ve got a niche, but you’re not an ‘expert’

A writer, not an expert, learning about a niche in front of a laptop on a table beside a plant and some headphones

This got me thinking about the all things I’m an expert in but not technically an expert in. My friends, it is a lot. This is mainly because I like the reading of the books and the sharing of the information. Sometimes It’s even helpful. 

But doesn’t writing in a niche where you’re not qualified make you an imposter? Well yes and no.

Writing a lot about a particular niche for which there are no letters after your name, can get a little tricky. Health bloggers for instance. You’re happily writing away about the not-so-happy parts of perimenopause, IBS and the various skin diseases that plague our faces when a nutritionist/doctor/genius with 14 books comes along and says, “Buy my thing! This is why you should listen to me!”.

Okay.

I’m not disputing that you should follow the advice of lettered individuals who are actually trained to help you with this stuff. In fact, I encourage it (I’m not sure how many times I’ve written the phrase, “speak to a healthcare professional,” or some variation thereof on this blog). But If you’re not giving out medical advice- and I’m emphatically not- writer and actor here- then you shouldn’t let imposter syndrome stop you from sharing your lived experiences even if they’re health-related.

Just don’t like, prescribe stuff or do a Gillian McKeith. I have no plans to examine anyone’s poo but my own. There are some days I marvel at what I’m willing to say on the internet.

Anywho.

Writing jack of all trades, master of none

You could be a Jack of all trades with several niches or genres. It’s the master of none bit that gives all of us streams of income people imposter syndrome. It makes us seem a bit average at everything, when in fact the Jacks of old were craftsmen. 

“Johannes factotum”, “Johnny do-it-all” if you’re feeling less than Latin scholarly was someone who was just generally an expert. Good at all the things. Your go-to guy when your bell tower needs a watchman, your falcon needs convincing to return or when your thatch catches on fire.

Or something.

Johnny-do-it-all didn’t specialise and become a ‘master’ – i.e. master of none – but his rates were cheaper.

Be an upstart crow

A quill lying on a blank page on a table

There’s also a possibility that Robert Greene was referring to Shakespeare as the upstart crow, “an absolute Johannes Factotum is in his conceit the only Shakescene in the country.”  Not very complimentary.

Shakespeare was a bit of a jack of all trades though. He could do all the acting, writing, directing and codpiecing himself and got paid while doing it. Backwards and occasionally in heels. Did he wonder whether he was an expert? probably not. He was too busy hustling.

Based on his 38-odd plays, Shakespeare didn’t let something like writer imposter syndrome stop him. No wonder Greene was bitter. And since we’re still adapting his work I’d say you don’t need MA credentials to achieve your goals. I’ve got one; it hasn’t helped.

The point I’m meandering towards is that a well-rounded knowledge is useful and a curious mind will help you achieve more. So you’re not an expert. But I bet you actually know a lot of things. I bet lots of people would like to read about those things too. 

Writing advice in which I am not an expert

Every writer, even the most accomplished ones, had to start somewhere.  Even Shakespeare was “up and coming” once. And you will be too until you get there. You may not have a string of degrees or decades of experience, but that doesn’t mean your voice doesn’t matter. In fact, your journey from novice to knowledgeable can be a compelling story in itself. Remember, you’re writing from the perspective of someone who’s learning, just like your readers.

Compare yourself to your past self

Rather than comparing yourself to those who’ve been blogging and writing for years in a niche or genre you’re just starting out in, compare your current work to your previous efforts. Celebrate your progress. You don’t have to be the best; you just need to be better than you were yesterday. 

If imposter syndrome makes you feel like you’re not a writer or not an expert, you can take comfort in the fact that it’s pretty common, even for the experts and those who’ve been at the top of the blogging game for years. Behind those polished articles and blogs lie hours of learning, struggling, self-doubt and editing. The finished product is only the tip of their iceberg.

Woman with imposter syndrome sitting at table looking away from open notebook

Research research research

If you feel like an impostor because you lack knowledge in a particular niche, remember that research is your friend. Dive into books, articles, interviews, and any available resources to build your expertise. The more you learn, the more confident you’ll become.  But until then, not being an expert can also be an advantage. It allows you to bring a fresh perspective to the topic. Embrace your unique viewpoint and don’t be afraid to share it with your readers. 

Your Voice Matters

As a writer, your voice has value, even if you’re not an expert. Your words have the power to inform, entertain, and inspire. An audience is often looking for relatability, not unreachable perfection. There’s a clear link between perfectionism and imposter syndrome. So if you’re constantly aiming for unrealistically high standards, you’ll never feel good enough. And you’ll procrastinate.

Set achievable goals for yourself and your writing. As you reach these milestones, you’ll gain confidence and gradually ease the grip of impostor syndrome. Write with authenticity, and you’ll connect with readers who appreciate it.

Finally

Being a writer is being on a journey filled with learning, growth, and the occasional battle with impostor syndrome, but it’s also one that can lead to personal and creative fulfilment. Every word you write is a step toward honing your craft and proving that you’re not an impostor; you’re a writer. Your voice is uniquely yours and I for one can’t wait to read what you write.

 

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