My imposter syndrome thoughts started a while ago, when I first put pen to paper and considered myself a writer. Back when I was changing nappies in between drafts and using snail mail because on-line forms and e-mails weren’t used much at the time.
Fast forward fourteen years and here I am. I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in The Hook. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s an event held every year at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators annual conference.
For those of a nervous disposition, look away now.
The Hook is where six brave souls get the chance to pitch their work to four agents in a minuscule amount of talking time. No biggie, I thought, I speak in front of important people a lot, I’m sure this will be fine.
That’s what I thought to myself when I submitted my words, again when I received the e-mail that I was selected to appear and once more when I sat in my seat waiting my turn to go up on stage.
And then the event started. As my SCBWI colleagues-in-arms took to the floor for each of their pitches, I suddenly thought, this is huge. Olympic medal huge. Landing on the moon huge. Life-changing huge.
When the event was over and the results came in, not only had I come 2nd (yay but how on earth did that happen, stewards enquiry!), I got the chance to speak to gate-keepers who actually liked my pitch. They were interested in my main character and the life that had been thrown at him, they wanted to know more, to understand my thought processes behind who he is and how he came to be. I had to fight the urge to look over my shoulder, convinced they meant these encouraging words for someone else.
I came away from the conference this year with a huge confidence boost that my writing was more than I ever thought it could be. Even now when I talk to people about that day, I smile and remember the moment the auditorium went quiet and my SCBWI friends crossed their fingers and toes for me as I shared my work, live and on stage. I remember the moment I started to pitch, totally forgetting the words I knew inside and out and so I was extremely thankful for the homemade prompt my son made for me. Just in case, he said. Too right.
I am determined to see this through, to send my work out and see where it takes me. I still feel like an imposter when I find myself in the same room as Carnegie nominees and award-winning creatives as I recognise names from the books that fill my shelves at home. However, a quiet voice in me will say, that could be you one day.
And why not.