Even those of us who have attained a degree of success in writing still probably harbor doubts that we TRULY deserve whatever we have attained...That luck more than talent was responsible. You ever feel that way about anything?

Carrie Vaughn (pictured below), bestselling author, felt that way until a certain thing happened AFTER she had already arrived in the city called success...and her story will be helpful to many.

Carrie, writing on GENREALITY blog:  

I had an interesting bit of writerly psychology play out this week.  On Monday, I got a big boost when I found out that my stand-alone novel,
Discord’s Apple, got a starred review in Publishers Weekly.  “…brilliantly structured, beautifully written…”  I want to paint that on the wall of my office.

Professionally, this is marvelous.  It means some second looks and extra buys from stores and libraries who might not have paid much attention to it otherwise.  Plus, bragging rights and a fantastic pull quote.  Personally, I’m over the moon.  I feel ten feet tall.  I feel an overwhelming sense of joy and validation that seems far in excess of just encountering a good review.

So, like a good writer, I’m fascinated by my reaction and have been analyzing it.  What have I come up with?

Like a lot of writers, Imposter Syndrome (which Bob talked about here) is a constant, looming presence in my life.  I got where I am because of luck, I’m really not that good, and one of these days everyone’s going to figure that out.  The men in suits will show up at my door at take all the successes away.  This gets worse because I feel that luck actually has played a partin my career (the explosion of urban fantasy hadn’t happened yet when I sold my book — the label urban fantasy wasn’t even being used for that type of book then), and because I’ve read just a few too many reviews of my books that use some variation of the word “surprising.” (as in “it was surprisingly good!” or “a pleasant surprise!”)  Some days, it can be way too easy to feel like a hack.

The starred review took a big, big bite out of my insecurities, at least for a little while.  “beautifully written” indeed!  It’s a good book, it really is!

That this review came out for Discord’s Apple in particular has made me feel hugely validated.  This is one of the stand alone novels that pretty much broke the deal with my old publisher.  I had two different editors tell me that my stand alone novels just weren’t as good and shouldn’t I really stick to writing urban fantasy series?  You see, they wanted me to write urban fantasy series and nothing else.  The quality of my stand alones was actually moot.  Too bad I didn’t really get that at the time.  At that point, my insecurities became towering.

And then one of those books gets a starred review.  Validation!

I think the depth of my emotion about this review reflects the fact that I had no idea how much I needed that validation.  It’s taken a long time and a lot of back and forth (Pen name or not?  Try to sell it right away or wait to build an audience?) to get this novel into the wild.  And seeing that review was the first hint I’ve gotten that maybe everything’s going to be all right after all.  I’m going to try to hold on to that feeling.

On a less cerebral level, I celebrated the review with wine and cookies.  Yum!

(Oh, and Discord’s Apple will be out in July.  I keep forgetting that shameless self promotion means nothing with(out) the appropriate information.)