There’s a feeling I sometimes get, one I find hard to ignore and that is a feeling that I somehow don’t belong here, don’t deserve to be here, at least not as much as anyone else. Imposter Syndrome is a condition where people, especially many women, can feel like they don’t deserve to be in the positions they are in when it comes to work or other things, and they struggle to be able to be satisfied with their success. But is it possible to ever have Book Blogger Imposter Syndrome? And why exactly do I feel like I have it sometimes?
How it all began
If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d be blogging about books I would never have believed you. Blogging about videogames, maybe, board games, maybe, even blogging about random bizarre thoughts in my head, maybe, but books…never! Ten years ago, it’s not that I didn’t read books, it’s just that I didn’t ever enjoyed reading them or read them as often as I do now. Books were things I liked, but I had other interests that were far more important to me than books, and when I did read a book it would usually take me several weeks or months to finish it.
About seven years ago though I found myself going more and more online after having to move house and downsize quickly and storing most of my stuff, temporarily, in a storage facility while waiting to find a better home. During that time I discovered the fun of online reviewing, and I went a bit mad reviewing all sorts of different items I had a lot of knowledge of, especially my huge collection of videogames, which I reviewed on Amazon. At the same time, I also began enjoying books I’d found at a local library which was so different from the local libraries where I’d lived before as those ones only kept outdated books and this one had all the latest fantasy and sci-fi reads!
Without my usual go to entertainment, most of which was stored away while I was looking for better accommodation, I began reading these books from the local library and when I’d finished I reviewed them on amazon the same way I’d reviewed videogames. I told a family member what I was doing and after seeing my profile they told me to start a blog with all my reviews on it instead, in case anything ever happened to my Amazon reviews. At first I didn’t even know what blogging really was. I had created websites back in the early 2000s, with my love (at that time) of all things Neopets and chocolate, but I’d never actually blogged before and didn’t know what I was doing. But after a few tries at WordPress I was soon used to the format and began posting reviews onto a simple blog I’d created.
The thing was that the books I’d read were just a fraction of the stuff I’d stuck on my first blog. I still didn’t know what I was doing and when my blog finally started showing some serious views, people, authors, started contacting me for reviews of their books. I was inundated with book review requests, most of which I naively took, and I ended up becoming a book blogger, and doing little else online.
I soon started to feel like I didn’t belong once I met more people in the book blogging community. This was back in the years of 2016/17 and everyone was mentioning so many books that I hadn’t ever heard of. Bloggers were commenting on famous reads by the latest authors, and I felt stupid for not even knowing some acronyms of book titles and series (I didn’t even know what tbr stood for for a long time) and for never having read those authors or books. Rather than feeling like I belonged I began feeling like I didn’t and this odd feeling never really left me as I pursued starting a different blog and then another.
In October 2018 I began blogging on The Strawberry Post and vowed to make it a lifestyle and book blog. By now I was receiving regular books from one publisher, and had contacts from several others I had made on previous blogs. I was determined to enjoy myself and feel like my position in the blogging community, and more importantly the book blogging community, was valid. I didn’t want to feel embarrassed about not having read the latest books, and I also didn’t want to feel daft for being myself and being honest about my lack of reading in the past, so I made sure to make this blog my own, and I did. I talked honestly about being a reluctant reader as a child, and I did my best to enjoy chatting about the latest books I had read with fellow book bloggers.
But something inside me still feels off sometimes. I have written reviews and read hundreds of books in the last few years, and when I suffered deaths in the family recently, reading was my outlet for all the pain, it took me away into a different place and I shared review upon review of all the books that kept me going, writing more bookish posts than ever before. But some bizarre part of me still gets this feeling sometimes like I just don’t belong. I’ve read many of the latest reads and I love the enthusiasm so many bloggers show for the books they read. And I’m so grateful any time someone reads one of my reviews, especially if it makes them keen to read a book I’ve enjoyed. So why do I still feel sometimes like I don’t deserve to be here, or more so, why I shouldn’t really be here?
Am I an imposter?
It’s strange how sometimes I wonder if I belong in the community. The fact is that if you are blogging anything about books you are a book blogger. But when bloggers do tags sometimes or post discussions about their favourite childhood books, I sometimes feel weird for not having this big backlist of books that I enjoyed as a child. I sometimes don’t do tags, simply because the questions are too difficult for me to answer, and I feel silly for wanting to say that I loved playing videogames more as a child than having an interest in reading. In fact sometimes I feel so terrible calling myself a ‘book blogger’ as sometimes all I want to do is talk about anything else.
Do these feeling make me an imposter in the book blogging community? Do I have imposter syndrome for feeling like I still don’t belong sometimes? If you ask me some quick fire questions about books I’d clam up and probably not know what to answer. If you asked me about my childhood and the books that sparked a love of reading for life, I’d struggle to name just one. If you asked me which stories I enjoyed hearing or reading back then, I’d say I preferred looking at the pictures in the books to the text. When people chat about books in groups, I sometimes have no idea who or what they are talking about. I still don’t know a lot of the well-known authors and haven’t heard about a lot of well-known books. If you asked me if I’m a bookish person, even though I’ve read hundreds of books in the past few years, I’d still struggle to say yes.
I guess, being someone who grew up without that love of books, loving games and drawing more than anything else, makes me wonder sometimes if I should even BE blogging about books or should I talk about videogames and art instead? It’s been a long dream of mine to do youtube videos about my ridiculous collection of videogames which does number in the hundreds! 😮 and I get excited at the thought of one day doing that. I’d love to talk about that collection here, but I don’t think anyone would care to here it, would they?. And I don’t know if I can ever shake off this feeling like I don’t truly belong in a community of bookish people whose first love is and has often been books. But imposter syndrome is like that, it makes us feel like we don’t belong and many people, especially women, often feel like we’re not good enough at something.
Sometimes we feel terrible about ourselves, self-doubt creeps in and we struggle to realise our self-worth. But talking about books, even if it’s just occasionally, surely still makes me a book blogger, doesn’t it? I mean, I have a ridiculously huge tbr pile (all books I really do WANT to read) and I now manage to finish reading a book within a week rather than the many weeks and months it used to take me. Does it matter if I don’t always feel like I fit in? Does it matter that I don’t always know who those authors or books are? Does it matter if my love of books came about only more recently and probably still sits second to videogames , and maybe also art and other things? Am I really a book blogger or just an imposter? I don’t know, you tell me.🤷♀️
Have you ever suffered from imposter syndrome of any kind? Do you think I should call myself a book blogger? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂