Rats in the Attic

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” Suzy Kassem

“We learn from failure, not from success.” Bram Stoker

HamsterChristina here. In an article last year in the UK’s Society of Authors’ magazine, Mick Conefrey mentioned ‘impostor syndrome’ (feeling like a fraud, despite having achieved success), which he called ‘the rat in his skull’. I absolutely loved this imagery/metaphor and could really relate!

Mr Conefrey was talking about the fact that he’d written books about mountain climbing, even though he’s not a climber himself. For me, however, impostor syndrome is the fact that I can never quite believe I’m good enough to be a published author – even after ten years it feels unreal and as though I’m going to wake up any minute and find that it was all a dream.

I’m battling with this inner rodent as I’m halfway through my next work in progress and doubting the story every step of the way. Starting a new book is always scary and although I usually begin with enthusiasm, all fired up about the plot ideas I’ve had, this can quickly change. The mid-point is especially precarious (the dreaded “sagging middle”), when everything starts to feel flat and the characters are not behaving as you’d like them to. I know from past experience that I’ll overcome this, but the rat in my skull certainly doesn’t help matters!

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