One does not merely walk into a publishing contract without seeing at least a few of the signs of impostor syndrome in oneself. I've been declaring many of my symptoms not to be emblematic of the syndrome, because, well, I think one has to have some sort of Emperor's New Clothes feeling about the whole thing in order to get the firm diagnosis on the impostor syndrome. All things considered, I have largely not felt that anyone was particularly looking at me, nor have I secretly felt that other people could see my clothes while I could not.
If anything, she grumbled to herself on occasion, I felt that people weren't taking me seriously enough: because I write kidlit, because I'm a gurl, because I'm not conventionally attractive, because I still work my dayjob, because whatever. But they are rarely, if ever, people who actually matter to the course of my career. Not really. Does it matter if a mil-SF writer doesn't give me the time of day at a convention? No, it does not. I don't write mil-SF, and I never will.
Plus, at the heart of it, I have all the girls and women who write me the letters and let me know I made their lives better--or that they were at least a little bit in love with Dragos, whatever--and that is enough to keep me going. (Yes, girls and women. I haven't gotten one fan letter from a boy or man.) And when I started this endeavor to become a published writer of novels, that was the plan, see? To make people feel as great as my favorite writers made me feel.
So, when impostor syndrome is brought up, I usually go, "Hm, no, I'm fine."
But then I notice something--stuff like what provoked my last entry here, in fact, or finding oneself/one's work in a random list, casually mentioned, as if one had written something that everyone knew about (not the case)--and I blink and go, "Oooooh. Impostor syndrome."
It's all those little moments working together that make the syndrome for me. I never have moments of "I shouldn't be here" or "They're all going to find out, soon." That's not how it works for me. It never has.
I have the blessing and the curse of being an only child who is both a first-born and last-born grandchild, and I have a full repertoire of coping mechanisms for dealing with the real world not particularly thinking I'm as special as my family always made it out to be--one of those coping mechanisms is never believing that I'm less than anyone else thinks. Haha, no.
So anyway. Call me a late bloomer. I finally get why it's a syndrome, because it seeps into the cracks and gets you, rather than throwing you down the rabbit hole with something you could see on an MRI. I get it now.
Drat it all.