Do you ever feel the pull between doing something authentic to you versus something you think people expect of you? That’s a lot of pressure to feel like you have to be doing what you see others doing. Especially in hand lettering, there’s a constant pull between having your own style but still making sure that it’s what’s “correct.” Conquering this imposter syndrome when it came to my hand lettering was something that I experienced full force with creating my book, Hand Lettering for Beginners. I hope that sharing my experience will help you if you’re also feeling that pull.
Towards the end of the book process, my editor sent me one last spot we needed to quote. It was right at the beginning, so I knew it had to be something great to start the book. During this week, there was already so much going on and many last minute details to finalize. Every day there was something new to look over, edit, and review. I felt overwhelmed, and adding in this quote was one more detail I had to develop. Finally, I had the time to work on this quote around 2 A.M. on one of many late nights working on the book. I struggled to come up with an idea, which frustrated me, especially since I didn’t have much time.
So finally, I wrote, “the way you create right now is exactly where you need to be.” This is a quote I say every once in a while in my YouTube videos. This has been a quote I refer back to often along my journey of hand lettering. It has been meaningful to me for several years as I continue learning, growing, and avoiding comparing myself to others.
I finished hand lettering the quote and sent it to my editor. The next day, I woke up, and imposter syndrome had officially kicked in full force. Over the next couple of days, I tried not to think about the doubts I was having. There were so many other details to be finalized with the book, so I didn’t have time to change it, even though the doubts in my head kept telling me to. I felt vulnerable by having sent in this specific quote because it shows just how strongly I feel my emotions. I started feeling doubtful like I’m too much, too emotional, and too deep.
Later on, I opened up with my husband about my doubts and expressed I should have chosen the quote “start where you are” instead. With all the doubts filling my head, it was making more sense to start the book with that quote. After talking this through with my husband, he used my advice right back on me. He asked me, “do you want to be authentic, or do you want to be safe?” I realized that being authentic to me is with the quote I sent to my editor. The advice and guidance I provided to my readers is what I was struggling with myself. The way you create right now is exactly where you need to be.
After talking it through, I was able to see that I wanted to be authentic, but I still was having imposter syndrome over my decision. I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome like no other during the entire book writing process and throughout my hand lettering journey. However, my mindset changed when I went to Hobby Lobby a couple of days later, where I was looking for a little ceramic dish. I happened to see the perfect dish that said, “you’re exactly where you should be.” When I saw this, it was confirmation that I chose the right quote. Maybe the quote I chose is going to help someone, maybe not. Regardless, I chose the quote that was authentic to me, which is everything that I try to share with others.
I keep reminding myself that if someone doesn’t like the quote I went with, won’t make or break my book. There are other things inside my book that they will resonate with. I want my readers to feel like they’re okay, right now where they are. To keep in mind to take it slow, and they will learn hand lettering throughout the book.
This was a crucial lesson for me to remember, and hopefully, this will help you too. It really is important to be authentic. What someone needs from you is not what they’re going to get from every other person. You have something unique to offer, and that’s what they need. That’s why my book is from me, not from someone else. There are so many excellent, helpful lettering books out there. But, this book is from me. So however you’re feeling today, you are needed, your unique story, your unique voice, that is what the world needs.