John-Paul Flintoff

Imposter Syndrome: A Retrospective for Writers

Every writer has doubts

My writer friend, Wendy Jones, made me laugh when I told her I was worried nobody would want to read what I have to say on such-and-such a topic.

Wendy went off on one, making up the doubts about famous writers like Shakespeare and Freud…

C.S. Lewis

CS Lewis looking out, with headline "What do I know?"

"How can I possibly write this? I've never been a talking lion. And I don't fit in the wardrobe."


Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

"Nobody's going to believe a word of it. I've got a perfectly nice room of my own. What am I thinking of?"


St Matthew

St Matthew taking inspiration from the Holy Spirit (homage to Caravaggio)

"Not everybody, I fear, will believe that I was inspired by the Holy Ghost."


William Shakespeare

Shakespeare with quill, thinking, "Who am I to write about this?"

"I have never been to Italy! What do I know?”


Keywords: writers, imposter syndrome

John-Paul Flintoff headshot, with Yours Truly written across it John-Paul Flintoff is author of six books, in 16 languages, including How To Change The World and A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech. He worked for 15 years as writer and associate editor on the Financial Times, the Sunday Times and other papers and magazines.

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