You would think that after writing in English for over twenty years and publishing a novel, short stories, and articles in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, Elle, and Esquire, I would overcome my imposter syndrome, but the answer is no. I still feel like a fraud for writing in a language that is not mine.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are my tips that will push you to keep creating, even if you mistakenly think that the odds are against you.
- Remind yourself of the greats: Nabokov was Russian. Joseph Conrad was Polish, and Kazuo Ishiguro is Japanese. They did it and did it brilliantly.
- Invest in some copyediting tools to ease your mind. My favorite is Grammarly.
- Use your native language to your advantage. I throw in Arabic words in my writing and readers love that.
- Remind yourself that many of your readers speak fewer languages than you do.
- Ask for a peer review from a native speaker.
- If you are self-publishing, invest in an editor so that you can focus on the structure and not drive yourself crazy over typos and grammar.
- Remember that “everything is figureoutable” to quote Marie Forleo. If you are in doubt, Google. Everything is there. The use of propositions, grammar, sentence structure, you name it.
- Joke about your accent. Greek-American media entrepreneur Ariana Huffington often starts her public talks with “I have an accent” which is usually followed by laughs.
We all have self-doubt. Sometimes, simple mind tricks will give you the confidence you need. Give yourself a pat on the back and say, I got this.