Every morning, I start my day with a cup of espresso on my back deck. No matter the weather, this is my ritual. Sometimes the sun is out, the day is perfect, and I can bask in the warmth of a brand new day. Some days, I have to bundle up (or cover up, when it’s raining), but even then I enjoy the chance to just be outside, to soak in the fresh air. I know that sounds clique, but when you work from home all day, every day, your world narrows to the familiar and expected. Little things like rituals matter.
Little things like rituals matter.
I’ve found that my creative energy is at its highest in the mornings, and my morning coffee time is when I recharge and reflect. This is when I feel the most motivated, inspired, and hopeful. But I don’t start off every day feeling hopeful and creative. The ritual is important. It’s my conduit to balance, and I wish I’d discovered it years ago.
The ritual is important. It’s my conduit to balance, and I wish I’d discovered it years ago.
Take this morning, for example. I woke up to a tweet from another developmental editor excited about a new publisher and platform she’s working with. Because I’m apparently a glutton for punishment, I like to check how many followers people have when I see announcements like this (as if social relevance is essential to job success), and her follower count was over 7k. My editor Twitter account (@davincikittie) is currently sitting at 300 followers, and that number is not meager for lack of trying. I’ve struggled with feelings of ‘not good enough’ my entire life, so seeing this other person’s success—not only with her new job venture, but with her larger audience—got me a little down this morning. And that insidious voice in my head said, “You’ll never be that popular. You’ll always be mediocre.” And, damn, if that isn’t a tough feeling to wake up to.
I’ve struggled with feelings of ‘not good enough’ my entire life. “You’ll always be mediocre.”
Imposter syndrome is a real thing, and I promise to spend some serious time exploring it here on Patreon. I strongly believe that we need to empower one another, lift one another up, before we can truly enjoy our own personal successes. But I digress…
This morning’s coffee ritual didn’t start out too promising. I couldn’t focus. My heart was heavy with doubt and gloom. But I looked up at the sky, at the airplanes passing through the clouds, and I thought about the trips I have planned. I remembered that I’ll get to reconnect with old friends in February at Coastal Magic Convention. I remembered that this time next week I’ll be on a snowy peak in Tahoe, testing out my new snowboard. I remembered that my happiness and success is up to me and that what other people are doing doesn’t matter at all.
My happiness and success is up to me. What other people are doing doesn’t matter.
In the month since I decided to start this Patreon channel and began designing, preparing, launching, and forward planning, I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions. From excitement so potent and ideas so persistent I can hardly concentrate on my paying work to doubt so crippling I just want to go to sleep and forget the whole idea, one thing remains constant in my mind: My success is up to me. And I’m going to have to work hard for it.
My success is up to me. And I’m going to have to work hard for it.
And you know what? That’s totally fine by me. I’m not afraid of hard work. And I know the only way to truly stand independent, to exercise control over my life and career, is to stay strong, believe in myself, and just keep pushing forward. Even when it seems the world is against me, when everything is going wrong, that’s when it’s most important for me to look at the sky and remember the possibilities.
So, damn it, yes I can. I can do whatever I set my mind to. And I will.
This path will not be easy, but it will be worth it. I will fail along the way, and that will be worth it too. Even though, as I write this, I have no Patreon subscribers or followers and my channel is barely a week old, I believe there are authors who need what I have to offer, fellow creatives who will be excited to go on this journey with me. All I have to do is keep moving forward, day by day, doubt by doubt, inspiration by inspiration.
And even as Imposter Syndrome is telling me, “Don’t post this, you’ll regret it. You’re exposing too much, and someone will make fun of you,” I know there are people out there who need to see that vulnerability can be a strength too, and that courage comes from within.
So, yes, I can. And so can you.
What doubts are you struggling with?
And what rituals might help you center and focus your energy?
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