Thank you to everyone who has visited this blog. This summer and autumn, a lot of new people have started reading.
WordPress gives me enigmatic, half-clear statistics about you (plural), dear reader–many of you hail from Australia, for instance. More visitors have come from Down Under, recently, than from my home country, the rainy UK.
Get it together, Britain!
I’d also like to thank everyone who decided to sponsor the site via Patreon. I am very grateful to now be a semi-professional blogger.
The idea of Patreon is that readers offer to support the blog for a dollar a month, or as much as they wish, like an old-fashioned patron of the arts. It’s completely optional — the blog will remain free for everyone to read.
Still, I felt extremely anxious. There are thousands of great websites on the Internet: who was I to ask readers to give me anything?
However, the idea of creating a Patreon page seemed to fit nicely with my goals for the blog: the more people who became “patrons,” I reasoned, the more incentive I would have to make the blog better. Unlike a donation site like Indiegogo, which tends to reward a person for what they have already done, Patreon exists to reward artistic types for what they will do, in the future.
I put up a very basic page with some rewards of dubious value, largely because I felt too nervous to do much more.
After the soft launch, I currently have six patrons, and the blog is receiving $20 a month. This is amazing. The feeling of being paid to do something I love.
Since I announced the Patreon page, a few blogger friends wrote posts in response, sharing their own doubts and worries. Eva Langston talked about the struggle to feel worthy, as a writer and editor:
I recently started doing manuscript consulting. When I told my friends what I was thinking of charging, they were horrified. “Eva, you are worth more than that. You have an advanced degree and years of experience. You need to value yourself more.” They suggested a different, higher number, for me to charge.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I feel bad asking for that much.”
It’s true — I have trouble asking for what I want, especially when that something is money.
Tawni Waters, who is a genuinely successful novelist, wrote a very moving, very candid essay about imposter syndrome, the fear that everyone will finally figure out that you’re a fraud, an imposter.
I’m not sure what to say about all of this. I’d like to say something about eradicating Imposter’s Syndrome and believing in ourselves and our accomplishments. But today, that’s not what I’m feeling when I think about this. I’m thinking that this proves that underneath all of our various educations, accomplishments, accolades, and social statuses, we are all pretty much just little scared boys and girls, trying to make our way in a daunting, unpredictable world full of people we perceive to have it together way more than we do. Maybe nobody really has it together. Maybe this messy, sordid, screwed up thing called life is better because it can’t be managed and controlled and predicted. Maybe these beautiful disasters we call human beings are more exquisite for their frailty. You know, I have to say, I loved Maureen and Daniel and Jennifer most when they were expressing their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. There is something genuinely breathtaking about seeing someone’s broken, true self, rather than the shellacked shell he or she feels obligated to present to the world.
As I write this, I remember words spoken to me years ago by one of the people I love most in the world. He said, “Tawni, someday, you’re going to find out I’m just a big, fucking fraud, and you’re going to be so relieved you didn’t end up with me.” But he was wrong, because the more of his ugly, broken parts I saw, the more I loved him. I’ve never been anything but crushed that I didn’t end up with him. I would have been honored to spend a lifetime seeing and kissing every dark corner in his soul.
Maybe, my loves, we all have Imposter’s Syndrome because we are all imposters. Maybe Maureen was right. Maybe we all really are lost. And maybe that’s ok, because the real, broken, uncertain things hiding at our cores are way more beautiful than our facades are, any day of the week.
Thank you again for reading and leaving comments. When I am not working on this blog, I am slowly writing a novel, which is a very solitary activity, and it’s lovely to have this site’s small community to return to.
If you are a student, or a retired person, or on the run from the NSA, camping out in the Canadian wilderness, don’t stress about the Patreon thing at all. You should just keep reading. If, however, you are gainfully employed, or have inherited enormous wealth from a mysterious uncle, and are not currently hiding from elite teams of bounty hunters, and you would like to help me get to my next “pledge goal” — $30 a month — feel free to take a look at my Patreon page, by clicking on the icon below.