Impostor Syndrome

May 25

Writing is such a solitary thing for me. It is intimate. It is raw. It is my therapy, my release and my relief.

Sometimes, it is my enemy, too.

I don’t see it being talked about enough, the downside. Maybe if it’s as openly discussed then it wouldn’t be so hard to open up. I felt like talking about it tonight. I felt like putting my thoughts down, this way I can come back to it when my enemy resurfaces from wherever it’s lurking.

Self-doubt.

Impostor Syndrome.

I go through it with every book. Every single one without fail.

But with Call the Coroner it was the worst.

The.

Worst.

Self-doubt is the reason you had to wait so long for that book. Self-doubt had me sitting at my desk with the laptop open, deleting and adding commas and periods in a manuscript without the ability to do more. To finish what I started.

What was I doing? The words made no sense. The sex wasn’t good enough. The emotions weren’t real enough. The story wasn’t captivating enough. Didn’t pack enough punch.

It wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t enough.

You look on social media and you see everybody doing things, and you think you don’t deserve to be in that boat. In that crowd. Because you’re a fraud, sitting at the laptop, willing words to come and they won’t. And when they do eventually trickle in, you just know they’re stupid, and you’re stupid, and this will be the one book where everyone sees you for what you truly are…

Pretender.

You’re not that good. And it doesn’t matter how many people tell you they like your work, they only do it because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

So…

Impostor Syndrome.

It is paralyzing. Jesus. It takes root deep inside and it never relents, not until you fucking give in. Not until you close that document, not until you shut down that laptop. Not until you walk away from that desk. You walk away, because that’s what you’re good at, aren’t you? Who do you think you are, trying to be this other person? Trying to do this thing?

I managed—and I still don’t know how—to finish the book. Longest it took me to do so in a while, but it was a fight. Do you hear me? It was a fight. A daily battle, forcing myself to shut out the negativity in my head and just do it.

Just. Do . It.

It happens to me. Happens to others, too. If you go through this, if you’ve experienced it. You’re not alone. I know it feels like you are.

I know.

I have never been so scared to release Call the Coroner. To me, it was a shitty fucking book. And I was convinced, convinced everyone would know it. They’d all laugh and point, and whisper about the author pretending to do what others do so much better.

Sometimes it’s gonna feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s gonna feel like you’re treading water only to sink to the bottom. It will feel like you’re trying on clothes that belong to someone else.

Don’t stop.

Don’t stop.

Call the Coroner has been out for two weeks now. I cannot fucking believe the reception to this book. I cannot.

I didn’t cry through release day. Not that week.

I cried tonight for the first time.

Relief. So much relief.

Some anger too, that I didn’t trust myself. That I didn’t trust my gut. My heart. My fingers on the keyboard. I let the doubts win. I can admit that. I let it win.

But only for a moment.

Only for that moment.

It’s gonna happen again. Happens every book, but I’m wiser having gone through this latest brutal round. I’m wiser. I know the battle might leave me bruised and bloodied, but the war is mine to win.

I own it.

6 comments

  1. Ingeborg /

    Dear Mrs Ashton,

    I can’t even pretend to know what you’re going through everytime, but I can assure you, your books give me so much joy. I’ve read every single one of them and find myself reading some even more than once. In my humble opinion, you are an awesome writer and I’ll Always be looking out for your newest book. If it takes a few months, or hell, even a year, I’ll wait, because I know for sure it’ll be absolutely great.
    Don’t doubt yourself.

    Hugs
    Inge

  2. Sugarspice /

    Hi Avril, I’ve been following your site and reading your books since the very first “Sinner” book, but this is the first time I’ve commented. Your struggle really moved me and I’m really glad you persevered because this book is excellent and my favorite to date. Thank you for putting yourself through this torture for us…please know that it’s worth it because your book gave me LIFE this week and I know I’m not the only one. I read it on Kindle Unlimited, then turned right around to buy it after I finished it. Please keep up the great work.

  3. Crimson Bladz /

    This is my first time visiting your website. Two thoughts I wanted to share:
    1. Thank you for writing and still writing. I fell in love with your first sinners book and reread it till I could recite it. I’ve read and still read/reread your subsequent books, but Call the Coroner was the book I knew you could and would write -a fantasy on paper to devour. Your writing style is such a treat and I binge every word. So thank you for continuing to write.
    2. Impostor syndrome -it’s like a weird coincidence to see this post. It isn’t discussed much in the world but haunts so many. It’s been a strange and crippling companion in my life, but you’ve shown it can be overcome. It gives me hope.

    Always a pleasure to read your words, immerse in your world, and meet your characters. Thank you for overcoming the doubt and exceeding my dreams. I’ll happily go broke reading your books. Most of all, thank you for writing.

    • Avril Ashton /

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I really do appreciate it <3

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