How to be a confident writer when English is not your native language
Imposter syndrome is real.
In my case, it rears its ugly head every once in a while, mainly when I’m writing. In my case, it rears its ugly head every once in a while, mainly when I’m writing.
You would think that after writing in English for over thirty years and publishing a novel, short stories, and articles in The Washington Post, Elle, and Esquire, I would overcome my imposter syndrome.
No, not quiet.
Is English not your native language, and you find yourself in a similar situation?
Here are my tips that will push you to keep writing and creating in English, even if you think the odds are against you:
- Remind yourself of the greats.
Nabokov was Russian.
Joseph Conrad was Polish.
Kazuo Ishiguro is Japanese.
They did it, and did it brilliantly.
- Invest in some copyediting tools to ease your mind. My favorite is Grammarly. Hemingway is also a good one.
- 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. This should give you some confidence and a nice ego boost.
- Ask for a peer review from a native speaker. If you are self-publishing, invest in an editor. This way, you can focus on the structure and not drive yourself crazy over typos and grammar.
- Self-deprecate and 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.
If Nabokov can do it, you can do it too.
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