Waking Up From Imposter Syndrome

Andrea Toole
May 23, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

This isn’t much of a story, but it seemed like something that would be relevant here. It started as a tweet, then got longer for a LinkedIn update, and here we are with an adaptation for Medium.

This morning, while preparing for a late afternoon job interview by phone, I reread the cover letter that I’d written a month ago for the job application. I know I’m a solid writer, but this letter was so good that I nearly cried. Over my own writing. I stunned myself. Though this wasn't my thought verbatim, the attitude was, “Woah, this is really good!”

The letter was authentic and factual and spoke with compassion about customer service.

I tend to forget that I’m “good” at stuff. My imposter syndrome often dominates, and for a long time, I’ve been challenging my fear of being seen. (The paradox of a writer, or maybe a shy person, or both: Wanting to be seen and not seen.)

It’s a reminder that every time I write, I write. I am a writer because I write blog posts, but I also write social media posts that people connect with, and I write newsletters, and 1:1 emails. Every time I respond to someone else’s “story” on Medium, I’m writing. Expressing my thoughts and opinions through typing is “writing”.

I don’t write non-fiction anymore. I wrote a lot of it as a child, but now when I contemplate it, I can never think about where to start. I’ve lost my ability to write about imaginary things (although I’m sure some would argue that I could get that ability back).

I love to write. It fills me up. The idea of writing sometimes scares me. Sometimes the story I tell myself is that it will take hours of research (which I also enjoy) and take up too much time (which it sometimes does). I sometimes tell myself that I should be doing other things with that time (sometimes I should be).

But, being creative makes my soul happy. The data entry into bookkeeping software that I’ve been doing for months makes me feel grey and dampened (that’s the word that comes to me). Writing lights me up. I’ve tried to use writing as a reward for doing the tasks I’d prefer not do, but then I end up typing away on the tasks I enjoy, such as social media posts and other content creating, and such as planning. I like to plan and organize.

I don’t like doing things that I don’t excel at. I don’t like finding out that I’ve entered several months of data incorrectly. I appreciate the skill and accept the reality of life, but to me, writing is like playtime.

I say this, but I often stall on writing resume cover letters because they take up a lot of time. Even starting with one as a template, as I try to target to each job, keep it to one page, and make it perfect, I psych myself out.

I need to remember this moment. I need to revisit that job application cover letter. Whether or not I get the job — thought the initial interview seemed to go well — it’s a piece of writing that I connected with. Because I wrote it a month ago, I was able to see it with fresh eyes.

Medium daily writing challenges are good for practice. However, I often take a couple of days to write, and while I was working ahead for the first week, that activity slipped off. I like having the perspective of leaving a piece of writing and returning to it.

Writing is what I’m good at and what I love. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder.


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Andrea Toole

Written by

Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | Available for hire. http://andreawrites.ca. I mostly separate my ‘Jew’ from ‘Woo’.

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