Do people know you’re a fraud?

This month, we’re talking fear on the blog.

At first, I was stumped. I’m one of those strange people who love scary movies, who thrives on books that set my hair on end and who gets a thrill out roller-coasters. I haven’t been truly afraid in a very long time–

Or, so I thought.

And then I remembered the thing I am most afraid of. People finding out my dirty little secret.

Before I tell you what it is, let me share with you a few things about myself. Let’s get to know each other a little before I dump my heartache out.

  1. I’m a hybrid-published author of nine books. I make a living in this industry, and love working on all things fiction.
  2. In my time as an author, I’ve hit the top of several lists. I’ve had some glowing reviews, and a decent number of downloads.

BUT here’s the thing: while I can write that down, categorically note it as fact, it doesn’t change the fact that at least once a week, I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. No, it’s not menopause. It’s fear that someone is going to find out I’m a fraud. Fear that the rug will get pulled out from under me when people realise I’m just pretending to be a writer.

You see, I worry that people will find out I’m a fraud. Don’t get me wrong, I pen my own work. But I worry that the things people seem to like about it will fall away. They’ll realise they made a mistake, and that they want their $2.99 and hours of their life back, and I won’t be able to give it to them.

And while I have had many lovely reviews for my work, they’re not the ones that stick in my head. They’re not the ones I remember. At two a.m, when the world is quiet but the voices in my head are SO LOUD, when people sleep but I feel as if I’m running on a treadmill in my mind, all I see are the negatives. The bad reviews that I can remember word for word, because for some reason, they cement themselves in my brain.

Yes, you can chuck me in a screening of Stephen King’s IT and I’ll leave the cinema with a smile, but tell me you’re onto me and that you’re going to let everyone know I’m a fraud, and you’ll send me into a cold sweat.

So why have I written this post? Well, my theory is in order to conquer your fears, you need to face them. I’m putting this out there into the universe because I want this fear to go away.

I’m also sharing it because I feel like I’m not alone. Ever since I told a friend of mine about this horror, she said she felt it too. I think a lot of us just feel as if we’re winging it, when really, we’re not doing so badly.

In order to try and quiet the voices in my head, I’ve started a mental checklist I go through before I sleep. This helps me feel better about my choices, and I hope, if you feel fraudulent at times, that it helps you too.

  1. Did I do the best I could with the time and resources I have? If you can answer yes to this, you at least know you gave it everything you had.
  2. Did I learn something? If you’re learning, you’re improving. If you’re improving, you’re on track to become better tomorrow than you were today, better next year than you were this.
  3. Did I enjoy it? And this is the kicker. Because there’s so much about writing that’s hard, so much loneliness, so much self-doubt and negativity, that if you’re not having fun, you have to reassess. And invariably, for me, the answer to this question is always a resounding yes. I am having fun. I’m having the time of my goddamn life.

And that’s how I manage to keep the mental boogey monsters away.

What about you? Do you have a fear of people figuring you out?


lauren k mckellar_ms
Lauren K. McKellar is the author of romance reads that make you feel. You can find out more about her at her website or on Facebook.

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