Don’t look! My participle is dangling!

There’s this syndrome I have come across time and again, called the Imposter Syndrome. I first heard about it when my husband was in graduate school. Recent graduates go through a phase of doubt and panic feeling they are out of their league. This happens across disciplines, across gender, across humanity. We all have times we feel like we don’t quite make the cut when evidence is to the contrary.

I recently had a friend read some work of mine for feedback. It is crucial for a writer to have someone read their work and let you know what works and what doesn’t. I don’t care if you are the next Ernest Hemingway or the current winner of a Pulitzer. Sharing your work for feedback is downright cringe-worthy. So when I receive a page or two of positive feedback peppered with a sentence of what needs work, I dive right into failure mode; I conclude I must be an imposter.

My diurnal practice of self-flagellation was enhanced when a dangling participle or two or three were discovered. With no subject to cling to in sight, I just let it all hang loose. What was I thinking? Was I thinking I was a writer? I must be a faker wearing a cardigan with elbow patches and a pipe clenched in my teeth. Letting it all hang out ain’t what it used to be. Tucking it all in is all the rage in my circles these days.

Gathering up my courage and heading to the keyboard for a morning of work, I tell myself that all I know for sure is that you have to be in the game in order for anything to dangle for the good or the bad of it. So, I am in the game. Bring it on.

What’s dangling over there?

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7 Responses to Don’t look! My participle is dangling!

  1. Lisbeth Bochette says:

    Not sure of what type answer you are looking for in your question; “What’s dangling over there?” Yet, I see as a writer, you are struggling and questioning yourself. Like you wrote; “Let it all hang out,” DO THAT! Don’t tuck it in! I think writing about yourself and your life experiences – good & bad are what your readers are looking for. You’ve led quite an interesting life! Advice from moi? You were not born to run like Springsteen, you were born to write about your life experiences exactly how you would think of them and/or talk to your close friends about! So, write on!! 🙂 I want to read it – bring it on!

  2. I am in the game! bring it on!

  3. steve says:

    I am the Imposter! Although the interesting thing is after 25 years I am now doing more of the type of work that I studied in college. Who knows, maybe I am still an imposter. As long as the client does not know. Great article.

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