Imposter Syndrome

Wait, why are they asking me? I don’t know this. I’m just pretending to know the answers. Everything I’m saying is a guess and someone’s going to tell me that I’ve got it all wrong. I’m making this up. I’m just thinking that I’m allowed to do this. I’m going to get told to stop and that I’m not good enough and that I have no idea what I’m on about…

(Also, emailing authors who have written books that I really admire is still the scariest part of the job.)

I’ve had a few people approach me recently – either through work or privately – and ask for professional opinions. After all, I’m an editor! I read and write and edit and I Know Something About Books!

And I’ve agreed! After all, this is my job. This is what I love doing. I can do this!

Except…

Wait, they’re listening to me?

I think the worry kicks in when I realise that people are accepting what I take without the customary large pinch of salt that I automatically put on anything I say. After all, I know that I know nothing; but everyone is nodding at me, and going away and actually implementing my suggestions, and…

It’s like they think I know what I’m talking about.

Which I do, of course. I’ve been doing this for a while, and if nothing else, I know enough from experience. I’ve been through these situations, seen what works, seen what doesn’t. I do know what I’m on about! Except…

And then my brain and I just go round in circles for a while.

Being asked to read things – or, y’know, doing it for my job – is fun, and satisfying: it really is. I love being able to read things and re-write a blurb, or tweak a synopsis, or point out which parts of a novel could be strengthened and which are already really strong. I love reading new stuff and emailing the author with “So where’s the next bit? Ooh, ten chapters? Yes please!” I love being able to help.

And I am good at it – with the proviso that I can always, and will always be, learning more. I am definitely not as good as I want to be, and it’s such a wonderful experience to see people with more experience and more talent working. Editing’s such a strange skill that it’s really interesting to see how other people do it!

It’s just terrifying that other people seem to agree with the half of my brain that thinks I’m worth listening to!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.