Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Do You Have Imposter Syndrome? By Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu
Viola Davis, who just won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, says she suffers from “Imposter Syndrome.” Maybe you do, too.

Yes, it’s a real thing. According to Wikipedia, the term is applied to “high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud.’” Whether Davis has been officially diagnosed or not, I’m not sure.

But I am sure that a lot of us authors suffer from this syndrome to some extent, even if we don’t have a “clinical” diagnosis.

You see, we know that God has called us to write. He has given us more story ideas than we can use in a lifetime. He has provided us with the ability to put words together in a cohesive way, to create characters that come alive on the page, to describe settings and action in ways that enable readers to “be there.” And maybe He has even blessed us with an agent and/or a publisher.

But when a friend or reader says, “How do you write a book?” we don’t have a good answer. And worst of all, we’re afraid the next book we write (or the one we’re working on now) will be lousy.

We are afraid of being “found out,” that people will realize we’ve been faking it all along. That we really don’t know what we’re doing.

Can you relate?

Or maybe we’re writing intense stories with great emotional and spiritual depth, but personally feel like God is far away. We can reveal the internal battles of our characters but can’t admit our own struggles.

Is there a cure for Imposter Syndrome?

Absolutely. You may not find it in the secular journals, but you can find it in the Bible. I think King David suffered from Imposter Syndrome at times, especially when he had sinned. But turn to Psalm 139, where he says:

Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place. How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! (v. 16-17, GW)

David’s solution was to remember that God had made him and knew every aspect of his life. Not only did God know him, but He had “precious thoughts” of him.

And God has “precious thoughts” about you, too. You are not a fraud. If you are writing because of God’s calling on your life, He has given you the ability you need.

So when you feel inadequate or worry that your writing career will end when people realize you’ve been faking it, pull out Psalm 139 and read it. Over and over, until it sinks in.

Then keep writing.
About the Author

Marie Wells Coutu’s novels often deal with characters who suffer from Imposter Syndrome. At least, they worry that if their secrets are discovered, their lives will change drastically.

The Secret Heart
by Marie Wells Coutu

Her latest release, The Secret Heart, is a modern reimagining of Bathsheba and David’s story, featuring the governor and first lady of Tennessee. Keeping their secret is destroying their marriage, but revealing it could mean the end of any political career. Find out more at myBook.to/TheSecretHeart, visit Marie’s website at www.MarieWellsCoutu.com where she shares devotional thoughts regularly, or follow her on Facebook at Marie Wells Coutu, Author.

The Secret Heart

Beautiful Shawna Moore married Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee, after a whirlwind romance, only six weeks following her first husband’s death in Iraq. Now, she wonders if the governor loved her at all or only hoped to avoid a scandal.

An investigative reporter—and friend of Shawna’s—is asking questions. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection could be ruined. But keeping the secret is destroying their marriage. Will Shawna convince Hunter to choose his family and drop out of politics, or will he continue to put his career first?

For a sneak peek, download the first chapter here. You can also read Angie's review of The Secret Heart here: The Secret Heart - An Innovative Retelling.


  1. Marie, for a good while I thought I was the only author suffering from this syndrome. Then I discovered it was almost universal among writers...and many other professions as well. Thanks for your post.

  2. Marie Wells CoutuMarch 14, 2017 at 8:25 AM

    Doc, thanks for your comment. I certainly wouldn't have expected YOU to feel this way! 8-) But it's nice to know so many of us share the struggle. Glad you could relate.


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