Writers’ Writing Competition: If I invented my own religion

Here is the theme for the writing competition that also builds your author platform. For full details please see week one’s post.

But first, an apology

I admit I dropped the ball this week. I honestly thought I had everything set up and scheduled but I failed to realise where we were in the week. That is my fault and I apologise. Winners to be announced shortly too.

Week Three: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 20th. However, if you need more time because of my mistake say so and I will delay judging by a day.

If I invented my own religion

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

Ideas

This theme was invented to allow you to show how your twisted mind works as a writer. Although the intention was that it be a biographical topic, feel free to write fiction, poetry, essay, you new cult manifesto, or something entirely crazy.

Don’t forget

Don’t forget to link to this week’s post so your entry is (much) easier to discover. You may find it easier to get more comments if you also share your post to your Facebook friends or on Twitter.

It is important to realise that unless you link to this post, then ou ping may not show up, and if it does, it will show up in the wrong place.

Writers’ Writing Competition: Week Two

Here is the theme for the writing competition that also builds your author platform. For full details please see week one’s post.

Week Two: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 13th.

If I had a time machine…

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

Don’t forget

Don’t forget to link to this week’s post so your entry is (much) easier to discover. You may find it easier to get more comments if you also share your post to your Facebook friends or on Twitter.

Thanet literary connections

The Isle of Thanet has a rich history of literary connections. Which is marketing speak for lots of interesting writers have been connected with Thanet.

In addition to the lively and varied Thanet literary scene that make up the community of writers and poets in Thanet, there have been a good many famous writers from the area.

  • Jefferson Hack, (born 20 June 1971), publisher, journalist and model, lived for many of his childhood and teenage years at Beach Grove, Cliffsend, near Ramsgate.
  • Karl Marx (1818–1883) is known to have stayed in Ramsgate some nine times. As did his comrade Friedrich Engels. His eldest daughter Jenny Longuet Marx (1844–1883) lived for a period at 6 Artillery Road.
  • John Buchan (1875–1940) was rumoured to have based his thriller The Thirty Nine Steps on the set of steps on the beach at North Foreland, Broadstairs, where he was recuperating from a duodenal ulcer in 1915.
  • Brian Degas, author, writer and creator of the TV Series Colditz, lives in Broadstairs.
  • Charles Dickens, novelist, had a holiday home in Broadstairs, where he wrote David Copperfield. For a period he owned Fort House on a promontory above the town, where he wrote Bleak House, which the location is now called.
  • Frank Richards (pen name of Charles Harold St John Hamilton; 1875–1961), writer of the Billy Bunter novels, lived in Kingsgate, Broadstairs.
  • Stevie Smith, poet, spent several years on and off in a sanatorium near Broadstairs while suffering from tuberculous peritonitis as a child.
  • Iain Aitch is an English writer and journalist who was born in Margate. I’ve never met him but he seems like a decent chap.
  • T. S. Eliot, poet, wrote part of The Waste Land in Margate in 1922, whilst recuperating from nervous strain.
  • Marty Feldman, comic writer and comedian, began his career aged 15 as part of a circus-style act at Dreamland (Margate).
  • Matthew Munson, author, lives and works in Thanet. Matthew Munson is a really nice bloke and you should buy him a coffee if you get the chance. His third book is coming out soon, so don’t miss it.

Are there any famous (or almost famous) writer that I have missed out? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

Writers’ Writing Competition

As promised, here are the details of our just for fun writing competition that also builds your author platform.

The competition is design to be a little bit like one of our group meetings. We all share our work in a format that we are happy with (see getting set up for more on that) and then we give feedback to each other in the comments.

You win if you get the most comments from the most people, or if you write a really good comment, or if you write a great entry.

This competition is all about being social and working together (with great feedback) as well as showing off your writing skills.

Competition and Rules

Anyone can enter

This competition is open to anyone at all. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can enter this competition. If you have time, you can enter twice but you are probably not going to want to.

Competition

There will be 12 rounds, one each week. Each round will have a theme to which you may write as little or as much as you wish. The only requirement is that your entry must be posted online – I will show you exactly how to do that as this is the part that builds your platform.

At the end of the 12 weeks, there will be a big community vote to pick the all time favourite – as chosen by you.

How to enter

To enter you need to publish your entry online with a link back to that week’s competition page. Don’t worry this is really easy. There are lots of free ways to publish your entry in a way that builds up your platform. There is a section called “getting set up” which will show you how to create a free account to post your entries. If you get stuck, ask in the group.

Winning

There will be three winners each week:

  1. Best entry
  2. Best on-page feedback (to someone else’s entry)
  3. Entry with the most on-page comments by different people

The winner will be whoever it seems like, has best matched one of those criteria. If there are lots of good entries and your one is not picked all I ask is that you be a good sport about it. Just by writing well, you are winning yourself a good foundation towards your future writing career.

The prize for best feedback will be limited to people who have entered the competition, so make sure you are clear about who you are. Also, don’t forget to give the feedback on the article itself and not on Facebook otherwise I might miss it.

So don’t just put your entry up, go and read other people’s because you might just win for an insightful or helpful comment.

This competition is as much about the comments you give as the entry itself. Read how to give great feedback.

Build your Author Platform

The aim of this competition is to have fun and while having fun you will also be enhancing your author platform without realising it.  An author platform is an engine by which you are able to generate sales as an author. It is made up of the presence and following that you have created prior to publication.

So in other words, you will have fun while also laying a foundation for future writing success. We will be having fun but you will also be building up your author presence – something which can take a long time to mature.

Week One: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 6th. Before you get writing, you should read the getting set up section, if you need help setting up a free space where you can publish things (Facebook just is not going to cut it this time).

What gets me writing?

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

My Platform: Getting set up

Placeholder Image

This is the only bit that is ever so slightly fiddly and may take as long as three whole minutes. Longer, if you want to customise things a lot.

It is also the most exciting part of the whole process. You will be claiming a space for your authorial voice to be heard. It is really easy and super fun. It is also very helpful later on when it comes time to get published.

To build your platform, you need somewhere you can publish your own content. This s where you are going to post your competition entries. If you already own a blog, then you can use that, if you want.

I recommend WordPress but I will show you haw to set up on a few different free sites so you can find one that you are comfortable using.

You don’t have to use these platforms but you will get the best benefit from using a proper blog. Also, blogs are fun. Trust me.

WordPress

If you have signed up to contribute to this site, or you have blogged at WordPress before then you already have an account but if you need one they take no time at all to set up. then just pick a format and you are ready to go.

WordPress will ping us when you publish your entry so I will know that you have entered. This is because you are going to link to that week’s competition page.

Quora

If you don’t like WordPress you can use Quora which has a free blogging option. It will look something like this. Just sign up and choose the blog option from your profile menu.

You may need to share your entry in the group, which is fine because I think you might like to do that anyway.

TumblR

Another choice is TumblR. We have a TumblR blog here. To play fair, you will have to make sure that your entry has comments enabled.

Medium

If you just want to enter the competition and don’t much care that you could be building a platform at the same time them Medium might be the choice for you. Again, grab a free account and post away.

Linking

With all these platforms to make a link, you just highlight the text to make into a link and then press the link icon. This will give you a box where you can paste the link which is found in your address bar at the top of the page.

It starts thanetcreativewriters.wordpress.com but you knew that right.

Try to use some text such as:

This is my Thanet Creative Writers Competition entry.

That way, it makes it easy for me to know that you want to be part of the competition.

Good Luck

Best of luck and remember you can write anything that fits this theme and use any title that you wish. Just link to this page and share your article on our Facebook group so I know that you are entering.

There’s no wrong answer and you can win not only by writing but by leaving a great comment on someone else’s work. If you need help, leave a comment on this blog post or post in our Facebook group.

I can’t wait to read what you write.

Let’s sort this out?

This is written in response to the constant stream of accusations, threats and outright lies that are being aimed at M. Brown, and therefore us as a group.

A bit of background; In 2013 an idea for a writers group (called Thanet Creative Writers) was thought up in M. Brown’s mind. He shared his idea with me and others joined. Thus leading to the first ever meeting in M. Brown’s home. The second happened in a cafe in Margate.

We had been running successfully for a long time and had around 30 members. We decided to start meeting at a local pub. A while after that a ‘certain person’ joined in 2015. The group grew considerably, the name was changed by a vote of members (to Thanet Writers) and a website was produced, by M. Brown and a couple of others with the know-how.

Then, for reasons I am not going to go into here as it’s not the reason for this article, myself and later M. Brown, were removed from the facebook group, and didn’t feel welcome at any meetings.

This leads to M. Brown returning to the original format, with the original name, ideas and most of the original members.

It now seems that a certain person, possibly a member of Thanet Writers (unrelated), is going around spouting lies and rumours about one of us that are nasty and unfounded.

We are being accused of everything from posting ‘nasty things’ about the ‘leader’ of theThanet Writers and its members & making accusations against the ‘leader’ and/or its members, to copyright infringement & fraud. We have no idea if this is all from one person without the knowledge of his members, or if this is him with others involved. We have no idea if these so called posts even exist.

We don’t know what we have done to these people to make them feel it’s necessary to barrage us with this, and we have asked them on numerous occasions to provide proof of what we are being accused of. Nobody has come forward to explain any of it. Instead, they hide behind their keyboard to write various nasty emails, ‘open letters’ and ‘To my accuser’ posts in public arenas to gain sympathy for something they say is happening to them but have yet to substantiate.

The relentless campaign against us is causing great stress that we could all do without.

It appears that this individual is trying (and succeeding in parts) to turn people against us, and it has resulted in them losing members, and us being ‘blacklisted’ or ‘banned’ from other groups and events.

This is wholeheartedly not what writing is about.

Thanet Writers have been getting their information from a third party (so they say) and that third party is the person who sent the posts in the first instance to the ‘leader’, and it seems that he or she are saying they were from us.

We would like to know who this third party is. We would also like to know where you are finding all of these alleged posts that you like to pass on while saying they are from us…

Let me try to explain better. In one of these ‘Open Letters’ it is stated, and I quote from the original letter;

Recently I was made aware by a third party that you have made numerous posts containing allegations, which combined with statements you have made towards or about me have lead me to write this open letter. Usually I would not publicly respond to such matters, but after being sent these posts it appears you are putting me in a position where I have to.

This particular ‘open letter’ (posted publicly) was the very first time that we had heard about any such posts, allegations or statements. It was quite confusing to even receive such a letter.

The following quote is the private emailed reply (from M.Brown) to the author of the quote above. It is taken from an email conversation, sent in December 2016, between the two main people involved in this… shite.

Look, clearly, there has been some shit-stirring going on. If it’s not come from me (I hate that crap), and if it’s not come from you (you say it’s not), then who the hell has it come from? Solve that, and we can both go back to doing more interesting things. I read your “open letter”. I found it sufficiently vague to leave me in the dark. I am not going to respond to it because I have no idea what I am responding to AND because I am not going to get into that kind of argument. I am very annoyed that I have to address this at all. I shall file this under “another crappy 2016 thing” and move on. If you could do likewise, that’d be good. This is not an invitation to reply. It’s just a heads up and a request that you deal with your stress in a way that does not include me. Thanks.

Well, this reply did not work. Quite obviously, due to the fact that we are still receiving (so called) ‘olive branches’ & ‘Open letters’ and things posted publically aimed at us. I can only assume, based on this conversation being sent via private email, that the aforementioned ‘third party’ is the one doing the stirring.

We cannot stress it enough; so listen up.

WE, AT THANET CREATIVE WRITER’S, HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

To clear up some of the rumours;

  1. Contrary to the popular belief of others, none of us have ever posted anything at all detrimental to other writers, and we emphatically implore anyone who accuses us of doing so to provide us with evidence (in black and white) of what it is we are supposed to have done, and to prove it, beyond all reasonable doubt, that it came from us. If anything we publish makes you unhappy then tell us about it and we will do our best to make things better.
  2. Contrary to the popular belief of some people, Thanet Writers is not the original group, and we did not copy them, or ‘their’ name. We simply reverted back to the original name after the unpleasantness happened.
  3. We did not copy them in becoming a charity. This has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time. The ‘leader’ of Thanet Writers is aware of this as he was the one who suggested we wait until we became a bigger group.
  4. M. Brown, I. Adams, D. Clements, K. Peake, and H. Yasumi, A. Winder and myself (L. Winder) were, are and have always been the original founding members of Thanet Creative Writers. That is never going to change, no matter who tells you differently.

We are utterly sick to the back teeth of this rubbish. It is not something we started, it is not something we wish to carry on with and it is not what we, as writers, want to be dragged into on an almost daily basis. This shite will damage the local writing scene (as proven already) more than is necessary and not through any fault of our own.

We have sent a Peace Treaty message to one of Thanet Writer’s admin (H.F) asking if we can try to resolve this nonsense somehow, and we have not yet been answered. We decided to go down this route when it became quite obvious that the ‘particular person’ mentioned above is behind the detritus being aimed at us. We, after writing and sending it, received yet another ‘Open letter’. We then sent another message to the same admin asking if the peace treaty had been shown/read out to Thanet Writers. We are still waiting for a response.

Please, I implore you again, either provide us with these posts, statements and accusations you keep adhering too, or leave us alone.

Simply put, we have had enough. Put up, or shut up.

 

L. Winder, Lead Proof Reader at Thanet Creative Writers, Trustee and secretary of Thanet Creative Writers: Charity; and one of the original co-founders of the now named Thanet Writers.

Thanet’s Writers’ Groups: Early 2017 Summary

pens in a row

Last year we posted a list of writer groups that take place in Thanet. Thanks to the wonderful feedback from readers we have been able to expand on that list.

Like our 2016 list, this is every writers’ group we could find. Some cost money but most are free, some are selective about who can come, some are open to the public, and some only meet sometimes. No matter what your level of writing or the distance you can travel there is bound to be a group that is a good fit for your needs.

Thanet’s Writers’ and Poets’ Groups

Ageless Thanet has activities free for people 50+ who live in CT9, CT11, and CT12. They include Creative Writing, Life Writing, and a Film Project. For more information about any of the activities please call 01843 601550

Arts in Ramsgate run writing classes priced at £7.50. Facilitators for this are Karen Bellamy and author Katerina Dimond. They meet in Harbour Street Ramsgate. You should book in advance. More details about the event. (A big thanks to Thanet Poetry Posse for some solid fact-finding there).

Broadstairs Writers’ Circle meet on the first and third Monday of the month (except August) at the Brown Jug Inn; 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Dead Island Poets. We know they meet in pubs around Thanet for open mic poetry nights and are run by a lady called Penny. As I still couldn’t find a page to link to your best bet is to follow the Thanet Creative Writers group were Dead Island Poets events tend to get shared. Next meeting is at the end of the month.

Hilderstone Writers’ Circle is, as far as we can tell, run by Maggie Solley at Hilderstone Adult Education College, Margate. I don’t have any further details but the contact number is 01843 860860.

Isle Writers gather 2.00pm – 4.00pm on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at Broadstairs Library.

Inspirations hold their meetings between 11am and 1pm at Westgate Library on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December).

TCW: Poetry is an as yet unnamed poetry group that Thanet Creative Writers are looking to establish. The focus is will be on helping new poets find their voice.

Thanet Creative Writers hold a number of events throughout the year. Matt hosts a weekly writers’ gathering at his home each Tuesday at 7:30pm (address at the bottom of most pages on this site) called Writers’ Tea and Chat. The group has no fixed agenda and is there for whatever writers feel they need to talk about. This tends to be review and feedback but not always.

Thanet Poetry Posse are an online only group where people share Thanet poetry related things.

Thanet Writers (a group founded by, but no longer affiliated with, Thanet Creative Writers) meet every Thursday at about 8pm at the Chapel to critique work and discuss the running of their website.

Third Thursday Writers’ is run by Peggy Rogers and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. There is a waiting list to join in so you’ll need to make contact in advance.

Writers’ Circle is run by Maria Brown and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. You should probably use the contact form to find out more information.

Writers Unleashed meet in the Ravensgate Arms, King Street, Ramsgate at 8pm on the second Monday of the month. The group is aimed at writers of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction, and Song to read or perform or listen to others.

I’ve tried my best to get as much useful information here so you can find a writers group that suits you. Things change and the details were as reasonably accurate as the sources I was able to look them up on when I wrote this list.

Over to you

  • Have I missed any writers’ groups out? Then tell me in the comments.
  • Do you go to a writers’ group? What’s it like?
  • Anything else? You know where the comments are.

First Thanet Creative Writers Event of 2017

The first gathering of Thanet Creative Writers will be hosted by Matt at his home on Tuesday 10th January. Unlike our regular events, this one is more of an open house, bring a plate, gathering where writers are encouraged to bring significant others.

We might get down to reading each other’s work or we might just socialise. It all depends on what you want to do on the night.

For more details please check out the event page

Starting a Poetry Circle

Inspired by our members’ desire to engage in more poetry writing we have started to look at setting up a poetry group.

This project is still in its early stages and open to feedback as to how exactly things will be organised. The idea is to allow new poets and more established poets to support each other and encourage the writing of verse.

The format will probably be quite like our general writers’ critique meetings but the event will only be for poetry and verse.

You can have your say in our Facebook group or on the new TCW Poetry Circle project page.

Do you write poetry? Where do you share what you have written?

Creating a safe space for writers

Establishing a safe place to share work is one of the most important things a host must do.

As hosts, we have a responsibility to look after the writers that we receive into our gatherings. Some writers, perhaps many writers, are vulnerable people. For some, writing is a way to deal with a great deal of emotional or physical pain. Sharing what we have written is not so different to being totally naked.

It is very easy to feel exposed or at least a little nervous when sharing this very intimate expression of our inner self with total strangers. As hosts of events, our job is to make our guests feel safe enough to share.

Creating a safe space for writers should be the objective of all hosts and organisers. I don’t know how it is in all writers groups, but I would like to think that most try to do just that.

Encouragement and support

While members are finding their feet within a group, one of the best things we as hosts can do is try to build up their confidence.

This can mean different things in each situation. It may mean encouraging members to give criticism which includes enthusiastic praise for what was done right, rather than focusing on what needs fixing. It may mean simply thanking a member when they share for the first time and acknowledging that the first time is always hard.

Sometimes all we really need to do is remember what it was like when we were starting out and remembering that we are not all on the same level (and that is perfectly fine).

As hosts, we often set the tone for an event and should be setting an example of exactly what we would like from other members. That’s not always as easy as it sounds.

for example, there have been times when I have been utterly shattered and a budding writer puts some work in my hand that is, frankly, hard to read. When I am tired I find it harder to concentrate on roughly written work and I find it even more tiring to maintain an even tone with my response.

For me, it is a cop-out to hand it back and simple claim “that was very good”. That’s what mums are supposed to do but writers come to a group for more than that.

No matter how tired I am, or how little interest I have in the manuscript in my hands, I know, as host, that I must keep reading until I can give a mix of praise and a candid yet kind appraisal. I need to give something that the writer can use to further their craft.

Giving everyone a fair share of the time

A fair share of the time is not always the same thing as an equal share of the group’s time but the two are fairly similar. Sometimes it can be helpful to allow one member to occupy more time than any other – so long as it is not the same person each week.

On the other hand, it pays to watch out for “the talker”. I am a person that loves to talk – it’s what helps me overcome my own dyslexia and write anyway – but just as I have had to teach myself to shut up and let others speak there are times when the host needs to call time on a person.

I will be the first to admit that when I am excited about a subject I can talk about it for a very long time. I mean seriously, have you seen how long this article is?

I have become acutely aware of just how much time I can take up talking about my work, about my thoughts on other people’s work, or my reaction to the latest Star Wars film (don’t get me started unless you love Star Wars too). This is why I write blog posts – so I can talk about topics I love and people who find those topics interesting can read them, we both win. But in a group setting, where time is finite we hosts must be a bit more careful.

The talkers in the group can, without meaning to, deny the shyer members of the group a chance to contribute. In an open mic session this is less of a problem as you probably have set time limits but in a group discussion setting, we hosts need to be mindful of how much time any given member is using up.

The talker is usually someone who seems to love the sound of their own voice, or it can be someone like me who just gets very excited about stuff. As hosts, it can be helpful to have a clock or watch handy. It will not be long before it is clear who the most talkative members are. The trick is in figuring out how to gently bring them to a stop and draw out the other members so everyone can contribute.

We also have another responsibility – dealing with keen contributors that do not know what they are talking about. As hosts, we need to be aware of when bad advice is being offered and be ready to offer alternative views.

I can’t tell you how many group gathers I have found myself saying the words “playing devil’s advocate for a moment…” It is a lot, I know that much.

Of course, this also requires that we ourselves know what we are talking about.

Knowing our craft

When people come to events we host, either as writers and poets, or just as interested on-lookers, there is an expectation that we, the host, know what we are talking about.

I am not about to suggest that only experts can be hosts, far from it. Yet we must, I feel, do two very important things in this regard.

  1. Do our best to learn the theory of our craft
  2. Be very honest about our own limits

In fact, of the two tasks, honesty is perhaps the most vital and least easy. Let’s be honest, it takes a certain amount of ego to write things down in the expectation that others will find it worth reading. That same ego can often blind us to our own faults and shortcomings.

It is very easy to think that we know everything, or at least most of everything, even when we are barely more than rank amateurs ourselves.

Keeping egos in check

Just as we must make the effort to keep our ego in check, we may also be called upon to keep other egos from overwhelming the group too. That’s not always easy.

There have been times when that rare combination of strong self-confidence, an admitted talent, and many years of writing arrives along with a prima donna attitude. More often the prima donna attitude is less well deserved but in both cases, it is off-putting and intimidating.

I don’t envy the host who finds themselves faced with the task of keeping a huge ego sufficiently contained that the other members still have space to grow. I am not sure that I even have any particularly helpful advice to offer.

Fortunately, I have found that huge egos are not so common. Unfortunately a huge ego can come with another problem – the potential to overwhelm and bully.

Protection from bullies

Back in 2013 when I started hosting writers workshops in my home, I had very little idea what I was doing. I was simply looking to engage with other writers on a topic that I loved. Surprisingly to me, this was a popular idea. But it was that very popularity that brought with it a harsh lesson.

It turns out that just because I am a person who wants nothing more than to share a love of writing and to engage in reciprocal kindness and support not everyone is like that. There are those who, if I am honest, are best described as toxic people.

Sometimes toxic people are just people with more than their fair share of needs and good support can help them become better human beings and a great asset to a group. Others, well, with others the best you can do is wish them well and send them on their way.

If you are unlucky enough to have a covert bully among the people at events you host, they can do a lot of damage both to the group dynamics and the well-being of your writers before you are even aware there is a bully. Even once you have realised that there is a toxic person in the group it can be hard, especially if you are somewhat sensitive, to bring yourself to remove them.

Being the sort of person who is unwilling to give up on anyone, no matter how hopeless the cause, this was not an easy lesson to learn. I can’t say that I have fully learned it yet but I am trying.

Yet, learn this skill I must. It is a vital skill that must be coaxed into existence, in much the same way a difficult scene must me, for the good of all the members who attend.

Setting some ground rules

Most of these responsibilities (and others that I have not covered), can be summed up in a  set of simple group rules. Setting some simple ground rules helps you, as host, be consistent with the way you treat the people who attend and focus your attention on the areas that need it.

It is not always necessary to express the rules, or even draw any attention to them at all. As long as you are consistent with your application of the rules, they will soon become part of the culture of the group.

I have been surprised on a few occasions to listening to members telling newcomers about the way we do things and hearing the rules I’ve used but never told anyone about. I did not need to explain the rules because I was demonstrating them in the way I was acting.

Rules are there to be broken but the group culture is something people generally try and fit in with.

Over to you

Those of us that host events for writers are doing something truly special – we are giving the community something very valuable. It is not always easy but I think it is always worthwhile.

I am sure there are many other things that we hosts can and maybe should be doing to create a safe space for all writers. What one would you add?

Have you been to an event with a particularly great host? What was it about the host that impressed you the most?

Do you host an event? What challenges have you faced and how did you tackle them? Have you had to deal with any of these issues? How did you approach them and what was the outcome?

Don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you

Who is this guy?

Impostor syndrome is that nagging feeling that you are really a “fraud” and do not deserve your success.

For us writers, that nagging doubt that we are “not really writers” can be crippling. At Thanet Creative Writers we have been talking about imposter syndrome and how it affects us. Some of our writers expressed surprise that it was actually “a thing” but most of us have felt it at one time or another.

Impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achievers. somewhat ironically the more talented a person is the more likely they are to feel this way. The opposite of impostor syndrome is illusory superiority, a cognitive bias whereby individuals overestimate their own qualities and abilities, relative to others.

It could be said that worrying that you are not good enough is a positive thing as it can indicate that you are doing well. On the other hand, the mistaken belief that you are miles better than everyone else should be a red light but often is not.

This is disparity in confidence is why mediocre people sometimes out-perform true geniuses.

According to the Telegraph, impostor syndrome is particularly a problem for women. This could explain why more men than women come to Thanet Creative Writers events. I would love to say that I had all the answers but I don’t. What I can do is tell you that no matter how good or bad you think you might be, just keep writing and you will improve.

In a truly ironic twist of fate, writing therapy is one of the best ways to overcome impostor syndrome. As a writer, if you are worried that you are not good enough, the answer may be to simply do more writing until the nagging doubt gets bored and leaves.

As writers, it is important to remember that if you write, then you are a writer. Something I try to remind myself and other writers on a regular basis.

A couple of years ago Forbes ran a story recommending that you stop comparing yourself to others and own your success. That is some good advice. Remember that if you write, then you are already a writer. So what good can come of negative comparisons?

Qz.com goes one step further, suggesting that if you don’t experience impostor syndrome at least some of the time,t hen there is a danger that you really are an impostor and don’t realise it. Impostor syndrome, they say, is a sign of success. They might be right.

For more advice, Writers Unboxed have an article on “how to overcome imposter syndrome as a writer” and Writers Hub have a page that advises “how to keep writing despite feeling like a fraud“. Jill Hackett, an author and writing coach, writes about overcoming imposter syndrome and making the transition from being a writer to being an author.

You are not alone in feeling like a fake. The secret is to just keep writing anyway.

Over to you.

Do you feel like a fraud? Have you every been the victim of imposter syndrome? How did you cope and what kept you going?