Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Writer's Enemy : Feeling Like a Fraud by Bob Mayer

We get paid to invent stories. How cool is that? We invent something from just our imaginations. Amazing.

So why are writers squirming masses of insecurity?

A lot of it is external: little validation, an uncertain business, isolation, bears.

But deep inside almost ever writer is this feeling that what we do, what we produce, isn’t real. That we are perpetuating a fraud on the world. That we’re ‘fooling’ everyone. We believe we got where we are via luck and contacts.

When I teach Warrior Writer, the #1 fear of writers is feeling like a fraud. The word just keeps coming up, over and over.

I was sitting at an outdoor café in Denver years ago. It was a weekday lunch and I was watching all these people sharply dressed in business outfits walking by (I bought my first suit last year—sales woman said I was the easiest sale she’d ever had: I said I need a suit. She gave me one. I need a tie. Socks. Shoes. Belt. I bought it all). I turned to the person I was with and said “I feel like a fraud. These people are leading ‘real’ lives, and I’m living in this weird, alternate reality where I sat at home and write stories for a living.” She turned to me and said: “Most of these men, if they knew what you’ve done and achieved in your life, they’d wish they were sitting in your chair with those experiences.” It was a real moment of enlightenment for me. I have not led a boring life and for those of you who are self-employed, you know how difficult that is to maintain for 20 years.

How To Deal With Feeling Like A Fraud.

Writers aren’t the only creative people who experience these feelings of being a fraud or concerned the world will found out they are an imposter.

“I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m not very good. It’s all been a big sham.” Michelle Pfeiffer

“Sometimes I wake up before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me. I’m fat. I’m ugly . . .” Kate Winslet.

It’s important to realize everyone has doubts. What’s debilitating is if you feel like you are the only one. You’re not. Studies of people who are identified as feeling like frauds range in percentage, but the overall number is high. In fact, studies show that many of the most successful people feel it the most. The higher up the ladder one goes, the greater the fear is of ‘being found out’. The higher the stakes become. The more people are watching. And, honestly, the more people who want to see you fail. Thus those magazines at the checkout counters in supermarkets. The headlines don’t scream: Actress Has Great Day And Loves Husband.

Doubts can be good: they can inspire you to become better. If you combine your doubt with your passion, it can motivate you to great success. Studies have shown that women who score high in the area of feeling like a fraud tend to compete harder to compensate for their doubts. Interestingly, men who scored high on feeling like a fraud, tend to avoid areas where they feel vulnerable to avoid looking bad.

There is a thing called The Imposter Syndrome. It’s when you difficulty internalizing your accomplishments. All those things they’ve achieved: degrees, promotions, publication, best-seller lists, etc. are thrown out. The more you agree with the following statements, the higher your Imposter Syndrome:

I can give the impression I am more competent than I really am.

I often compare myself to those around me and consider them more intelligent than I am.

I get discouraged if I’m not the ‘best’ in an endeavor.

I hate being evaluated by others.

If someone gives me praise for something I’ve accomplished, it makes me fear that I won’t live up to his or her expectations in the future.

I’ve achieved my current position via luck and/or being in the right place at the right time.

When I think back to the past, incidents where I made mistakes or failed come more readily to mind than times when I was successful.

When I finish a manuscript, I usually feel like I could have done so much better.

When someone complements me, I feel uncomfortable.

I’m afraid others will find out my lack of knowledge/expertise.

When I start a new manuscript, I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish it, even though I’ve already finished X number of manuscripts.

If I’ve been successful at something, I often doubt I can do it again successfully.

If my agent tells me I’m going to get an offer on a book, I don’t tell anyone until the contract is actually in hand.

Women who feel like imposters tend to seek favorable comparisons with their peers.

Men who feel like imposters tend to avoid comparisons with their peers. Often, they work hard so other people won’t think them incapable or dumb. It’s called spinning your wheels faster even though you aren’t going anywhere.

People who feel like imposters are constantly judging their success against the achievements of others rather than viewing what they do as an end in itself. For writers, this can be very dangerous, because there will always be someone who is doing ‘it better’ or ‘is more successful’. I’ve seen bestselling authors fall into this trap.

A technique to fight feeling like a fraud is to use a version of my Warrior Writer HALO concept on yourself. HALO stands for High Altitude Low Opening parachuting. The technique is to start from way out, and work your way in with an open attitude to try to see things differently. Most of us see thing from our inside out. Reverse it. When I approach a company or team where I know nothing about what they do, the HALO concept allows me to see what they’re doing very differently from the way they see it.

Basically, the HALO approach starts from way outside yourself, diving in until you can see things clearly. Step outside and view things as if you are a stranger to yourself.. Look at your resume. Look at what you’ve accomplished in life. Ask yourself what kind of person would have achieved these things? Could a fraud have done this? When I query a conference to teach or apply to lead workshops or do keynotes, I have to send my bio. Sometimes I stop and read it and ask myself: what would I think of this person, if I didn’t know them, but just read this?

Focus on positive feedback. However, don’t ignore constructive negative feedback. The key is not to let the negative overwhelm you. I don’t look at Amazon reviews or rankings any more. First, you have to realize that only a certain segment of the population posts reviews on Amazons. It’s not a true sample of the population. Also, the motives for posting reviews often have nothing to do with your book.

One way of dealing with ‘feeling like a fraud’ is to internalize more of your accomplishments via real, external symbols. In the military, we always joked that everyone had a “Look At Where I’ve Been And What I’ve Done” wall in their home, covered with photos, plaques, flags, etc. Those walls serve a purpose, though. (In our A-Team room, we had to wire down all the knives, hatchets, edged weapons that were usually on the plaques because people might start using them after a few beers.)

I have all my published books in my office on the top of two bookcases, all lined up. The row is over three feet wide. I look at it sometimes to fight the feeling that I can’t write another book, that I can’t get published again.

“Talent is less important in film-making than patience. If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.” Terry Gilliam

You’ve got to actively work on building that tough outer shell around your creative self. Have a bizarre belief in yourself even in the face of apparent reality. You’re being bombarded with negative messages about publishing. It’s so hard. The odds are against you.

You have to believe in yourself. If you’re unpublished, walk into the bookstores and don’t let all those published authors overwhelm you. Use them to motivate you. Tell yourself you belong there. I always look and say: “Hey, these people got published, why can’t I?”

List your accomplishments. They can range from a picture of your family, degrees achieved, awards won, whatever. Put them where you write. Use them to remind yourself that you are not a fraud.


NY Times bestselling author Bob Mayer has over 40 books published. He has over three million books in print and is in demand as a team-building, life-change, and leadership speaker and consultant. Bob graduated from West Point and served in the military as a Special Forces A-Team leader and a teacher at the JFK Special Warfare Center & School. His latest books are Warrior Writer: From Writer to Published Author and Chasing The Ghost. He teaches novel writing and improving the author via his Warrior-Writer program. He is the Co-Creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing. He lives on an island off Seattle. For more information see or

Today in Seekerville we're giving away two of Bob's books, Who Dares Wins and his latest release, Warrior Writer. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

On behalf of the Seekers and our friends, thanks so much for taking time out your busy (have you seen this man's schedule?) to be with us in Seekerville today, Bob.


  1. Wow, You gave us so great info today Bob. I will have to print and save this post.
    Thanks for stopping by to chat with us and for all the great info you gave us.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  2. Well gee whiz I think over half of those things Bob listed apply to people even if they aren't writers! I think we ALL feel at times like everyone is doing better than us even if we do get reconized for our work be it in writing, school or whatever. Just say " I AM NOT A FRAUD!" Great stuff!

    Thank you Seekerville for hosting such a great party!

    XOXO~ Renee

  3. Thanks so much for coming Bob! I really needed this info and will refer back to it often.

  4. Why I am up this late? Well, it's the top of the 9th in Minneapolis.

    My publishing credits are limited to magazine articles at the moment. When I got the first one, I was ecstatic. Yet, I would still look at published authors and say, "I've got a long way to go." One of the published authors in my group reminded me of how many people who call themselves writers would like to have a published article.

    My list of articles continues to grow and I gain more confidence each time it does.

  5. The thing with the Imposter Syndrome, for me, is something I notice in all these kind of tests. I read the statement and think, "Yes, that's me." Then I check myself and think, "No, I'm NOT like that."

    I have always had an almost split personality in some ways, of confidence swooping to utter self0doubt. It's almost a radional side of my brain versus an irrational one. Or maybe better put, a reaction and a well thought out realization.

    So I think, knee jerk, "I hate being evaluated." Then I pause and clear out all the irrational nonsense and think, "Of course I expect to be evaluated. I expect it and accept it."

    So, no idea who's in charge in my head. There are at LEAST one too many of us in here.

  6. A thought-provoking post, Bob. Definitely something to continue to think on. Something that points to definite changes in thinking I need to accomplish. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Oh, man! This was just what I needed to read! Thank you so much for these insightful words!

  8. Wow! Bob so eloquently expressed what I so often feel. (And apparently, I'm not alone!) The paradox is, we are supposed to be out there 'promoting' ourselves - which only adds to that feeling.

  9. Good Grief!!

    I want to make something very clear.

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE winning Seekerville giveaways.

    But that is NOT why I come here.

    I come for:

    The tips

    The comaraderie

    The encouragement

    The friendships

    Info like this!

    Bob, when did you come to my neighborhood and spy on me??
    You nailed me in enough ways to be eerie.

    I'm working on the HALO. Promise.

    Pull up a seat and have a cup of the coffee that's ready.


  10. Wow, what an awesome post. Thanks for sharing that. "Fraud" is definitely THE word. The books sound great. I'd write more, but I'm supposed to be writing a book... Stopping by here was a good pause, though. :)

  11. Thanks so much to Bob for taking the time to inspire, and to Seekerville for providing such a great place for an aspiring writer to peek in and learn (and hopefully grow.) These books have now gone onto my next purchases list. Good luck to everyone!

  12. Good morning (well, it's noon in Siberia)!

    Thank you for sharing. I started having this kind of "Fraud" thoughts lately, but this article helped me get over it :)
    A great cheer-up and a lot of useful information, thank you Bob and Seekerville!

    Veronika Asks

  13. I love the comment "have a bizarre belief in yourself."
    Great tips, thanks Bob.

  14. Bob,

    Thanks for the great info you shared! When you mentioned watching the men in business suits as they passed by, I thought you would say "they were the frauds." I don't believe everyone is a fraud, however, I do think that almost everyone we see/meet/know has a facade they wear. Sometimes that facade changes based on present circumstancs, but there's always a facade in front of the real person.

  15. This book sounds great to apply to so many different levels in so many different genres!

  16. Wonderful post. Thanks for all the great information. Always a lesson to be learned here at Seekerville.

    Cindy W.


  17. I echo what everyone has already said. I write. I have been published. But because I haven't written a work of fiction (YET), I find myself thinking all the thoughts you mention.

    Thank goodness for the life raft you have thrown us today with the HALO concept. That adds on to my thankfulness for Seekerville and all I am learning by coming to this site.

    The imposter syndrome applies to so many people I know who are not writers but are excellent in their fields. I will be passing this message along to them as well.

    Again, thanks.

    Peace, Julie

  18. Ah, Helen. Coffee. YUM!!!

    Bob, this is totally amazing and that's why you have seventeen OVERNIGHT comments...

    Geez, Louise!

    Or they were all up watching the Yankees/Twins game like Walt.

    Bob, I love this. Like Mary (and Bob, I NEVER compare myself to Mary, the very thought is daunting and downright frightening...) I see both sides of myself in the list, the acceptance and the quick denial.

    Oh my stars, we're such a bundle of fun neuroses, aren't we? The good side of that is my sweet husband is never quite sure which wife he's got on a given day! Is it the self-assured, pulled-herself up by the bootstraps tough girl or the quivering everyone's going to know it's a mistake neurotic?

    I'm just so glad to see I'm not alone, LOL! Bob, you rock, and I brought a great breakfast buffet for us, so settle in, enjoy! Fritatta is hot and ready, bagels, muffins, croissants, lox, cream cheese, freshly sliced sweet onion...

    Dig in.

    Fruit platter on ice to your left.

    And let me add a huge thank you for taking time from your crazy, successful, busy days to hang with us, teach us, inspire us. This means a great deal to us in Seekerville. Our goal is to help others, to reach out, and we do it so much better with amazing folks like you on board.

    There. End of gushing.


  19. Gee, do you people sleep?

    I am thrilled and honored to welcome Bob Mayer to Seekerville.

    Actually I'm signed up for his Warrior Writer workshop online through the New Zealand Romance Writers and it starts next week.

    Cannot wait. For more info..go to his website.

  20. Wow, and I thought I was an early bird! What an excellent post...a "favorite" bookmarked post now!

    I loved the line: "Have a bizarre belief in yourself even in the face of apparent reality." That is EXCELLENT! Seriously, we writers are a bizarre group and have to have some kind of belief that the stories we produce can be published someday. And then there is that apparent reality! lol Yes, that is an excellent statement that is going on a post it note stuck on my computer!

  21. Veronika!!!

    Siberia. Wowza. Welcome to Seekerville.

  22. Walt, I'd like to point out that Roy Halladay threw a no hitter for Philly.

    Now that's a man with his cool together.

  23. Tina, I noticed. Thanks for letting me know.

    And, since I forgot to put my e-mail out earlier...


  24. Hmmm...interesting information to consider. I see myself is some of the test questions but not all.

    I do know that after I sold my first children's magazine story, I worried I was a "one hit wonder" and figured the only way to get over that feeling was to keep writing and submitting. It worked!

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  25. Welcome to Seekerville, Bob! And boy does "imposter syndrome" have ME pegged!!! And so good to know I'm not the ONLY one! :)

  26. LOL, yeah I figured you noticed. Just wanted to be annoying.

  27. Okay, I'll admit I still feel like a fraud but I am working on conquering the syndrome.

  28. Welcome to Seekerville, Bob! And thanks for the insightful post.

    I !internalize a great deal of self-doubt, and though I know I'm not the only one who thinks themselves a fraud, I didn't realize the tendency runs rampant!

    Great information and above all, great suggestions on how to overcome the self-sabotaging feelings.

    My first book comes out in January 2011. I'm going to start a top shelf of only my published books.

    Hmm, one will look pretty lonely. I better get to writing.

    Thanks for joining us today!

  29. Bob,
    Thanks for joining us in Seekerville. You were at GRW a number of years ago and gave a great day long workshop! I still use what I learned. Great stuff!!!

    Interesting and much needed info on feeling like a fraud today. About a year before publication, I had to give myself a you-can-do-it talk. I was able to muster a much needed positive outlook, and it paid off. Then after publication, the doubts surfaced. Seems life is now a roller coaster ride of feeling confident and then plunging into the I'll-never-write-again pit. I prefer being up!

    Need to make the Me Wall! Hubby's retired army and he has his wall. Since I'm visual, I'm sure the framed certificates and book covers would help me on the down days.

    Thanks for letting us know everyone feels like a fraud at one time or another. :)

  30. Great advice, Bob. What writer hasn't felt most of those insecurities in their writing career? I know I have. This article was very helpful.

  31. Amazing post, Bob! It came at just the right time and I'm definitely printing this one out posting it by the computer.

    The HALO concept is something I need to try. Remind myself I didn't get where I am by slinking through the cracks. But with hard work and determination.

    Thanks again!


  32. Wow, very uplifting.

    I suppose everyone feel likes a fraud in some point of their life.
    Mine mostly depends on who I'm in front of.

    If I'm at my local writers chapter and I'm sitting w/a lot of unpubbed and published authors, I'm fine. But if the table is full of published authors, I feel like a fraud. Like I'm trying to be something I'm not.

    My husband and I have 8 kids. 4 "home-grown" and 4 adopted. Someone will say, "Wow, that's wonderful. You must be really patient." Or say something about what a loving person I am.
    I do love kids. I love all 8. But I also get tired and impatient.
    If I'm around regular people, I feel like a fraud. If I'm around other foster or adoptive mom's, I don't. I think it goes back like Bob was saying about compliments, compliments make me feel like a fraud.

  33. Hi Bob,

    THANK YOU for your service to our country. My goddaughter's sister is currently in her cow year at WP. :)

    The HALO concept really resonated with me, as did Terry Gilliam's quote. If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.”

    Just change mule to bulldog for me.

    Mary, as usual your wisdom resonates as well. So I think, knee jerk, "I hate being evaluated." Then I pause and clear out all the irrational nonsense and think, "Of course I expect to be evaluated. I expect it and accept it." So, no idea who's in charge in my head. There are at LEAST one too many of us in here.

    Ruthy - the objective of Seekerville comes through every day. Truly. And we thank y'all. (That means "all of you" for those not in the South.)

    Debby - how is your SON?!!! Welcome HOME!!!

    Have a blessed day. And thank you again for taking time out for us. Congratulations on your success. You are living what you preach.

    may at maythek9spy dot com

    (My word is "orate" - how funny!)

  34. Thanks so much for this, Bob. I think others have commented on the "bizarre belief in yourself," but that caught my eye, too. Sometimes that's the only thing that keeps us writers going! I know some people in other walks of life that would benefit from this, too . . . I think I will share with them! :)


  35. A very good article. I also want to share it with members of my family who are not writers, because it is true of them as well. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Bob!


    Tina Gilbert

  36. Awesome! Thanks for the pep talk, since I NEED IT!

    I'm living the dream. So why do I often feel so panicked? This all makes more sense to me now. :-)

  37. I knew I didn't have a HALO. I just didn't know how much I one would help me with all this self-doubt.

    terism at rgv dot rr dot com

  38. Loved this post. I'm not published but I've been suffering from a huge case of self-doubt over the last two weeks. I really needed to read this today. Thanks, Bob!

  39. Good morning Bob and welcome to Seekerville,

    I met you a couple weeks ago in Tucson. Great keynote talk btw. And I'm getting a lot out of the book you put out on the table WE ARE NOT ALONE by Kristen Lamb. Great publicity tip to have those books out there so we could have them in our hand and decide to buy them. It worked.

    Can you tell us about Who Dares Win Publishing?

    Love the HALO analogy. It always surprises me that I write. I just had a manuscript requested that I wrote years ago and I'm reading it now and saying to myself, "Did I write that?" "This is so good." "How did I do that?" So I really get the fraud thing.

    Thanks again for coming by. Have fun today.

  40. Bob,

    Wow, I feel as if you have been taking a sneak peek into my thoughts and insecurities. I guess it's something that most (all?) writers have.

    Thanks for the encouragement and HALO idea. Never heard it before, but like it.

    Jodie Wolfe

  41. Bob, thanks so much for taking time out for us today.

    I think we tend to think we are frauds because we're ordinary and we have this image built up in our minds of successful writers/people being extraordinary. When I read books by favorite authors, I think, "Wow! I'd love to be able to write like that." Sometimes I get discouraged. That's when I go back and compare my writing from a few years ago to what I'm writing at present. When I see how far I've come, I remind myself that with every word I type, every word I self-edit hones my skills that much more. This gives me hope that someday, I just might be able to write "a book like that."

    Thanks for the reminder today! It was a great reality check.


    lr . mullin at live . com

  42. I certainly can relate to Bob's post!!! I think most everyone (maybe everyone) doubts herself--often. But at least we're not alone.

  43. I'm learning a writer is free to write when the only voice she listens to is the one inside that encourages her and pushes her forward to create her best.

  44. PS - I'm most thankful to learn that most and possibly all writers are a little "touched" in the head. LOL

    And what about the guilt of writing while the world passes you by...the laundry becomes a mountain, the kitchen sink overflows while a dishwasher sits mostly empty of clean dishes, you have to watch where you're walking so you don't trip over toys, shoes, and backpacks, and...supper? Who needs to eat? I took the morning yesterday to get some things under control. Have to admit it made me feel much better.

    I'm currently writing a serious section of Finding Beth and I've been feeling a little down. It amazes me how my emotions mirror what I've been reading or writing. Anybody else experience this?


    lr . mullin at live . com

  45. I always think emotionally, being a writer is a roller coaster ride.
    Highs and lows and the stomach turning swoops between the two.

    I can have something so affirming happen and on the same day just be FLATTENED by something, from outside myself or internally.

    I think....let's pretend this is wise okay???....that part of BEING a writer is the emotional roller coaster. We're all blessed with vivid imaginations after all. I mean that's a given, right?

    So we IMAGINE the best and the worst and some all at the same time.

    I believe, that sentence above, is very nearly the opening to a Dicken novel.

  46. By the way, Bob, I discovered you through your co-writing work with Jennifer Crusie.

    I'm a big fan.

  47. I echo what everyone else has said. Great post. Definitely something I need to remember every now and then.


  48. "I have all my published books on... two bookcases, all lined up... I look at it sometimes to fight the feeling that I can’t write another book, that I can’t get published again."

    I only ever worry about this at three times when I'm writing my next novel--at the beginning, the middle and the end. ROFL.

    HALO sounds wonderful. I will have to try it!

    Great post. So timely for me.

  49. Does making a "Me Wall" mean I have to clean my office?

    There's always a catch.

  50. Oh, Connie, I can so relate to that. When you have a houseful and you put your game face on, people think it's really you.


    Really me is the one hiding upstairs, reading a book, eating chocolate and not caring if the turkey gets cooked or the pie is perfect or the bathrooms are scrubbed.

    But then Donna Reed and Betty Crocker rear their 50's heads and shame me into pretense.

    Let's form a sisterhood.

  51. Good Morning, Seekerville!!!

    And Bob, thanks for an article that hits a little too close to home. I've always felt something of a fraud, in both my writing life and my career as a nurse(maybe because I didn't get to go the traditional route of hospital nursing.) I intend to use your HALO exercise to help me in this area and plan to look into that class Tina mentioned.

    Thanks again for being here,
    Patty Smith Hall

  52. Linette, you raised a good point, about investing emotion in your writing.

    I know it affects me. Sometimes I get up and walk away. Think. Pray. Mull.

    I had that happen in Reunited Hearts (the 2011 book Seekerville helped name) and it was for good reason, but I think that's part of the reason it's such a gripping story. Emotions grab and twist us, up and down, and I think it should always be that way, either through humor, chaos, sadness, fear.

    Going half-way is stopping short of the goal and any soccer player will tell us that's not the formula to success. Follow the shot into the goal. Take the hit if necessary.

    That's how I see delving into that emotional roller coaster. Go for the ride, see it through, then go back and deepen it.

    "Laughter through tears is mah favorite emotion!" Truvy, Steel Magnolias (Dolly Parton).

    Make 'em laugh.

    Make 'em cry.

    And every now and again, make 'em think.

  53. Bob, thank you so much for such an inspiring post! So very true about writers. Something we all face. I appreciate the practical ways to battle the insecurities.

  54. Mr. Mayer is in Washington State which is still sleeping.

    I have tossed Washington apples at his house to wake him thanks for your patience.

  55. Thanks, Mary and Ruth - Reading your comments always help me see how normal my thoughts and feelings, goals and priorities are for being a writer.

    And I love the comment about the hiding away upstairs. I write in my living room and my five-year-old trashes it while I write away, totally oblivious. It's not until my hubby walks through the door and says something about the hurricane that I take a real look at the mess. Sometimes I sigh, but I'm learning to just grin.

    "I only ever worry about this at three times when I'm writing my next novel--at the beginning, the middle and the end" -MSullivan

    Love this! How true it is!

    Now, back to Beth...


    lr . mullin at live . com

  56. Oh. My. Word. No pun intended! I was just having this imposter/fraud conversation with a fellow author. What amazing insights Bob Mayer has. Bless you for such a timely post. I know it speaks to many, including me.

  57. Thank you, Bob for those wise words! Love your books and your workshops.

    And thank you Tina for sending me this link as I tackle revisions on my sixth book.

    That means I've done this five times. I can do it a sixth, right?

    Rogenna Brewer
    Mitzi's Marine - Harlequin Superromance May 2011
    The Marine's Baby
    The SEAL's Baby
    Midway Between You And Me
    Sign, SEAL, Deliver
    SEAL It With A Kiss

    LOL-now I feel the need to apologize for including a tag line with all my books.

    I am not a fraud, I am not a fraud...

    Go write, right now...

    Thanks again, Bob. Happy Birthday Seekers!

  58. Women so often compare the worst in themselves to the best in others, rather than enjoying our own achievements.

    Great blog!

  59. Hi Bob!!
    What a great post : )

    I think we all feel like a "fraud" you said "everyone has doubts". That is so true, unfortunately. In September, I started college (freshman this year) so I have been feeling this way for the past...ohhhhh...month or so : ) I mean the transition is definitely tough and leaves you feeling alone. I've been trying to stay positive (one of the only things left to do!). I think with time it will get better, but it's definitely something that's constantly evolving, constantly changing and you need to work on it.

    Thanks a bunch for visiting us in Seekerville today!!

    P.S. T-8 hours until Julie's PARTAY!!!!! Woot, woot!!! *wink*

  60. Just what I needed to hear today.

    Thanks! :-)


  61. Great post, Bob! Thanks.
    Linnette, I agree with the emotions thing. It's so easy to feel what you're writing and write what you're feeling.
    Mary, you always make me laugh. And I can definitely relate to the "Yes/No" conflict...


  62. Thanks for such good reminders, Bob! Congrats on your successes, personal and professional! And thank you for taking the time to share with us today!

  63. So I think I need to work on my hard outer coating over that gooey interior. (Why am I craving M&M's?)

    I appreciate the comments, Bob, and loved the post. I think the part about reviewing my resume to remind myself how much I've accomplished is extremely valuable. The past ten years have been devoted to home and hearth - and raising three young children. As a counselor (in a former life) who has done much self analysis, I recognize that I have a high need for recognition. Knowing that about myself helps, but I am also aware that in the writing world that falls under "fat chance." :)

    I'm working (daily) on recognizing what I've accomplished during the day - keeping the children fed, safe, and loved is a noteworthy accomplishment!

    Thanks again for the words of wisdom...

    annemariebecker at me dot com

  64. Wow, I feel like I am vindicated! That someone else feels the same way I do! What a relief it is to know you aren't alone. Thank you so much for hosting Bob, this was a great lecture and one I appreciate!

  65. Someone mentioned his online class--Tina maybe? But I can't find it. Could someone list the information so that I can look it over and maybe sign up for it?

    Patty Hall

  66. Writing our way out, Ro.

    Keep up the good work.

    Someday we'll be able to take a Warrior Writer workshop in PERSON.


    The Warrior Writer
    Instructor: Bob Mayer

    Bob Mayer, former special forces agent (Green Beret) and author of more than 40 books, including the New York Times-bestselling romantic suspense novels co-written with Jennifer Crusie Don’t Look Down and Agnes and the Hitman, will present his Warrior Writer workshop, online October 11-31.

    The workshop will run in a Yahoo email group, to which you will be invited to subscribe after you have paid your course fee.

  68. Great post today and an encouragement.

  69. Hi Bob:

    I admire your Special Forces service and I look forward to reading your books. I have to agree that many people feel like frauds. Indeed, many people are frauds.

    In a world where we are told to ‘fake it until we make it’, is it not surprising that people may feel like frauds? When cheating is pretty much accepted in colleges and even the service academies have witnessed such scandals, is it not surprising that many feel like frauds? When all our lives we experience all our own faults from the inside but only see the faults of others from the outside, is it any wonder that we may feel inferior?

    Yet the cure for feeling like a fraud is simple: lead an authentic life. Have a personal mission statement to accomplish something greater than yourself. Know yourself and love yourself. Christian writers have a huge advantage here because they can write with a mission to comfort others and show others the way to leading meaningful lives.

    As a starter, try using creative visualization and specific affirmations. Don’t say “I am not a fraud” using two negatives; rather, say: “I am an authentic, self-actualizing person.” Make a positive affirmation for each action you take. When you are thinking a positive thought, there is no room in your mind for a negative thought. It is an interesting thing to consider this fact: positive thinking very often works and so does negative thinking.

    It’s not magic; it’s more like geometry: two thoughts cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In a way, you are what you think and what you think is mostly under your control. In this sense, the fault does not lie in our stars but in ourselves.

    Do we take control of our thoughts or do we let our thoughts control us?


    P.S. Think of this process as a wonderful opportunity to show a character’s development along the acr. A character who has felt like a fraud, slowly and step by visual step, becomes an authentic human being able to love himself and others -- while feeling like a worthy child of God.

  70. I can relate quite well to Bob's post even as a reader and as one living in this world right now. Thanks for the positive, Bob.


  71. Geez. It's only 9:30 in the morning here and already 71 comments. I'll try to catch up, but I have to head over on the ferry to teach at UW shortly. Thanks for all the feedback.

  72. Fantastic post, Bob. Thanks for your words of insight. I'm a fan!


  73. Bob, you have a lot of catching up to do. LOL

    Rollercoaster ride, indeed, Tori! My heroine has just disappeared and my hero is jumping on a plane to fly 800 miles to find her.

    You have all been such an inspiration to me. I've passed teh 45,000 word mark and am going strong. I'm beginning to feel like I might actually finish this book. :D


    lr dot mullin at live dot com

  74. I knew I forgot something in my haste to forward this to my friends. My sister has already commented, "wow, right on the money!"


  75. Awesome post, Bob. Very inspiring. I'm going to print it out and post it near my computer to read from time to time when those negative thoughts strike.

  76. I think when you're creative, you can't help but be critical of self. Just like what we create, we are never finished. Always a tweak here and there is needed. So, naturally when people appreciate something about us, something we've created, we can't see the goodness. We only see how we could have done better. It's good to know others deal with this too.

  77. Thanks for the great post.

  78. Excellent Post, Bob.

    Of course I started reading the fraud list and putting a check beside almost everyone of them.

    Thanks so much... ;)

    Okay to be honest.

    I can feel like a fraud at any given moment. And as others have said, writing is but one area where I'm afraid I'll get caught living a grand lie.

    Sometimes I even buy into my fraudulent persona and feed on it for a time.

    I throw it pity parties and open up a bit of whine, and we hang out for a time.

    Yes, I share time with the critical voices in brain until I wake up from a stupor and realize they aren't that fun to hang with.

    And like Mary, I have to assess.

    it can turn into a bit of an argument at times, and I don't always win, but I'm getting better and it has to be done.

    Do I have flaws? Sure do.
    Are there better writers than me?
    Ah-huh... that's life. I can't be the best at everything, (though I pert near am. SNORT) but I can sure give it the ol College Try.

    Hmmm thats still counts even though I'm not in college right?

    *** note please do not ask my family or friends or co-workers about how close to perfect I am.
    they tend to be jealous and might fill your head with sheer nonsense.


    Tina the second

  79. Wow, rats, checking in. I stepped back to do that HALO thing and tripped over a curb and almost broke my leg.

    The X-rays came back good though.

    I need to return to my desk chair and my self-doubt. It's a safer way to live.

  80. Seriously, Mary?

    I'm glad you're alright.

    Tina the 2nd

  81. This post also gets starred. I feel like a fraud constantly in many areas of my life. I'm working on it though :).

    Very timely - thank you Bob and the Seekers for hosting.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  82. Wow, thanks, Bob! Just what I needed to read today! I've been in a writing slump for maybe a month now, not sure in which direction I need to be moving.

    So "fraud" (or similar terminology) comes up a lot in my warped thought process. As Mary said, I could answer an immediate YES to most of the statements you listed. But if I really think about them, I can see they aren't as close to being true as I first believe.

    Why is it so hard to believe in ourselves, our God-given talents and abilities???

    Seriously thinking about signing up for that Warrior Writer course! Thanks for the heads-up, Tina!

  83. Thanks for the awesome post, Bob! Like all others, I struggle with those fraudulent feelings....not just as a writer but also in my "job" as a homemaker.

    By the way, we have a similar "Look Where I've Been and What I've Done" wall in our home, only we jokingly refer to it as our "Shrine to Mediocrity"!


  84. Mary - Yikes! Are you safely back in your chair? I haven't moved from mine today except to eat, nap, and pick up my son.

    Bob - I'm adding this to my favorite quotes:
    "Have a bizarre belief in yourself even in the face of apparent reality."


    lr dot mullin at live dot com

  85. YES!! Sign up for the course. Then we can annoy the teacher together.

  86. Great post, Bob.
    But I really only come here for the giveaways...and the cyberfood.
    That's all.

    And my name isn't really Pepper. How weird would THAT be?

    Seriously, I think I'm looking forward to the day when I can have this know, be published and then question the sanity of it.

    I know I struggle with the Imposter syndrome with my job - 'You mean these people are trusting ME to treat their children? Boy, they are desperate."

    Why should I be any different when I get published someday :-)
    I should keep repeating "I AM NOT A FRAUD" along with Renee.

    And Bob, with HALO you've given us an excuse to have an out-of-body experience?!? How cool is that? That's great to gain perspective.
    Thanks so much.

    It's nice to be among fellow self-doubters :-)

  87. Mary,
    It's Thyme.
    I didn't think anyone would believe me.

  88. Love Cheri's comment...

    "Women so often compare the worst in themselves to the best in others."

    How true!!!

  89. LOL...Pepper and Mary! BTW, I kinda like the name Thyme. :D


    Thanks, Ladies, for making my migraine filled day such a delight with your antics!

  90. Vince,
    You're right about two opposing thoughts not being able to exist in the same brain at the same time.
    So...I am not a fraud...I am not a fraud..I am not a fraud...I am not a fraud...

    Thanks, Vince! :)

  91. Linnette,
    I'm determined to use that name in a book, so you can't have it. (sniff)
    Btw, I'm glad we've helped reduce the effects of a migraine instead of encourage :-)

    I think my pen name for the Speculative fiction I'm writing should be Sage Griffith
    What do you think? ;-)

  92. Thyme....

    Hey, bring your sister Rosemary around sometime, okay?

    You're such a Simon and Garfunkel girl.

    I'm loving that not only do we openly declare our neuroses here ON THE INTERNET, we encourage others to do the same.

    And since Bob's laundry list unilaterally seems to apply, I think we all deserve a group hug (I get to hug Thyme first) and chocolate, so here's a huge basket of chocolate wonderfulness to share.

    Save me a Pecan Dixie, please.

    And I'm heading over to check out the online course because not only did Bob touch a lot of 'buttons', if Tina and I are both there, that only pushes the zaniness to new and wonderful levels.

    Although I can't imagine Tina REALLY being annoying.

    Me: it's a given.

    Her: Oh my stars, no.

    But I can be annoying enough for both of us!


  93. Two opposing thoughts cannot exist in the same brain at the same time???

    Guys, seriously, I have legions of opposing thoughts in my head simultaneously.

    I'm not even sure how many are in a legion, but I'm fairly certain it's a lot.

    Oh my stars, I'm a goner.

    Bob: Help me rid myself of the legions.

  94. To eat chocolate or not to eat chocolate.

    oh wait, that doesn't count as opposing thoughts, because I NEVER question whether to eat chocolate or not.
    Just which kind and how much

  95. Ruthy,
    My mom's name is Ginger ;-)
    You can hug me any thyme (snicker)

  96. I think we all feel like frauds somedays. Well, maybe not frauds, but some insecurity anyway. At least I do. Some days I have to give myself a real good talking to and tell myself that yep, I'm, okay.

  97. An interesting post.

    There are just too many people who have walked the face of the earth for anyone to feel like it is only them who has or is experiencing something - someone, somewhere, has already, or is right now, feeling exactly the same way - so connect and stay positive. :)

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  98. I'm not sure if two opposing thoughts can exist in the same brain at the same time, but I'm absolutely sure my brain can bounce back and forth between thoughts with lightning like speed...okay, no PINBALL like speed.

    Today's been one of those downswoop days. Fundamentally, I blame a flu shot, but it may be more than that.


    Bob, you're pep talk came not a moment to soon.

    I'll go visualize high esteem.

  99. Oh, no, Ruthy--did YOU sign up too??? I just got my confirmation! Does Bob have any idea what he's in for???

    Mary, I got my flu shot on Tuesday. I survived. No significant reaction this year. Last year I had mild fever & chills for one day. But NOTHING compared to if I'd gotten the real thing!

    But then . . . it never hurts to have something external to blame for a downer kind of day. I hear you about a writer's emotional roller-coaster. Up one minute, down the next, and it never seems to end.

  100. Pepper - you just crack me up! No pun intended...then again...LOL And I promise not to steal Thyme from you. ;-) BYW, you go by Pepper, talk of using a psuedonym...plan to ever come out of the closet so we'll know who's responsible for your awesome writing?

    Ruth - Loved the Rosemary comment. You girls make me laugh and that's enjoyment enough, but I'm having a hard time finding this chocolate you keep talking about.

    Mary - Big huge hugs coming your way!!! Those kind of days come too often for me to not understand. Hang in there and remind yourself that it will pass. Saying a prayer for you.

    Opposing thoughts? I'm definately with Mary on that one. Pinball!


  101. Thanks for a great article, Bob! It sounds like my life.

  102. If I had over 40 books published, I'd be cured of the insecurities that I do now. LOL.

  103. It doesn't matter how many books you have published or much else. Unless a person is a sociopath, they have doubts. In fact, the more successful one gets, the larger the doubts grow. I'm sitting in the line for the Whidbey Island Ferry, heading home after teaching at UW. Tomorrow I come back over on the ferry to fly to Denver where I'm doing two day long workshops: Novel Writing and then Warrior Writer. Then Monday fly back while starting on-line Warrior Writer course for NZRWA. And teach again at UW on Tuesday. And, finally print out first draft of my WIP, which comes in at 170,000 words, roughly. Historical fiction, so I think it's worth the weight. But I have no clue if it's any good or how my agent will react. Every manuscript is like that. We write because we have to.

  104. Pepper,

    A couple of years ago, my daughter had a boy in her class named Pepper. She talked about him all the time. I'm pretty sure she had a big crush on him so I've heard that name over the supper table many times.

  105. Hi, Bob. You sound like a busy, busy man.

    You know my thing is...I just want to write.

    I do other things to promote the book and support it, but seriously, I just want to write my BOOK!!!!

  106. Bob, you're a busy man...and disciplined. Congrats on your success. Thanks for sharing tips with us today in Seekerville.

  107. KC,
    My son is great! A bit skinny, but healthy and loveable as ever. So good to have him back in the good ole USA!

  108. "...patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.” Terry Gilliam

    Oh my.

    And I've always said I was overly persistent.

    Now I know that I'm just mule-headed stubborn.

    Same difference, huh?

  109. Heavy sigh! I think Bob Mayer has been reading my mail, LOL!

    dlkaufman AT bellsouth DOT net

  110. I love Bob Mayer.

    Don't tell Dave.

    170K, Bob?

    Oh, mylanta. God love you and I hope your agent is ALL OVER that book.

    I love being crazy busy. I do my best work when I'm crazy busy. Too much time messes with my focus, so busy works for me. Obviously it works for you, too, but....


    And I love big historical fiction works, I love stories that wind through the ages.

    Can you tell us more about it? Pretty please?

  111. Thanks for stopping by, Bob. And you're in luck. Near perfect weather here in Denver this weekend. 69-70.

  112. I can't wait for the course now. Thanks for all the plugs (and thanks Bob for doing it!!) It's great to see a few of you have signed up - but never fear, there's still time to join us. Not entirely sure what will happen but am so looking forward to it on Monday!
    Head to to find all the guff about how to pay etc, and send me (Jo - the moderator) an email to the email address mentioned there. It's going to be a riot - in the good sense!!

  113. This was very enlightening!! Especially seeing all you published authors expressing that you feel this way and sometimes often. So encouraging to know you are all human too. What a unique place Seekerville is. I love the honesty and the REALNESS!
    (entering for the kindle draw, not sure if I qualify seeing I'm a little late).

  114. Maybe I'm a little bit of a sociopath... I don't feel like a fraud but I'm battling with doubts that would fill the Atlantic Ocean. WIll I ever be good enough? What is holding me back? Is it me, my writing, my stories? I think it's time for me to read some more how to books and see where I'm going so wrong. Fraud? No. Author? Not really. Trying hard? For sure!

    Pick me, I need those books!

    Thanks muchly,
    (170k is a whopper of a book! Good luck Bob and I'll see you next year in Melbourne for RWA OZ conference =)

  115. Thanks for a great post, Bob. I'd love to win one of your books.


    Joy G Lee G@aol. com

  116. Thank you Tina! I'm new to this but I already LOVE Seekerville!

  117. Excellent info! Thanks for helping us celebrate our birthday.


  118. Love this post!! Thank you so much.