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My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

We Regret to Inform You

Will Writing About Writing need to start hosting ads and running constant pleas to whitelist us from your ad blockers?   

Eh, probably not, but I needed a clickbait title.

WAIT....don't go. I promise this will at least be informative.

Come see how the sausage gets made if you want to get paid for writing in today's publishing world. Because if you want to be an artist (even a writer) you have to do one of two things to survive capitalism. Be so fucking commercially successful that people will come to you to pay to have access to your labor.

Or beg.

A lot. A LOOOOOT!!!

(Even if you think you'll just publish traditionally, you're going to end up begging for people to put books on consignment or give you a try or come to your reading or....)

Learning to ask for money isn't easy. It's slimy and dirty and everything screams at you that you're a charlatan. I feel like I need a shower with steel wool after every post like this. But with creative writing, it's basically the cost of doing business unless you want to write (and I mean really put yourself out there) for 10+ years before you make anything more than enough to go out to a nice dinner once a month. And possibly a lot longer than 10 years. Today it's easier than ever to be published and paid as a writer but it's actually HARDER than it has been since the 1940's to do so in traditional publishing. There are more people submitting than ever before, and non-traditional routes are eating up market shares.

Pretty much every working writer I've met who isn't famous has the same dirt under their fingernails.

We beg.

Welcome to our fourth of six "fund raiser" posts. We're still trying to cover that goal where the increasing cost of health care and tax burden won't be forcing me to petsit until I'm in my fifties, but it's slow going on the progress front. I picked up a few donors in June (and as always lost a couple) and so far July is going actually pretty well, but I'm still recovering from May's loss of one big donor. That's how it goes.

Here is a screenshot from MY PATREON.
Image description: Screen capture of text--
July 11th, 2018
July 2018 summary: +18.50 in pledges, +5 patrons


On the upside, that means our pledge drive is over half complete. For better or for worse.

Hang on. I haven't told you the down side yet.
The downside is that we're pretty far from even our modest goal.

Budgets for the coming year* need to be finalized by early August, and summer school is currently cannibalizing about half of my regular writing time, so for three more weeks we're going to take one post a week, and beg shamelessly.

*Half the people in my life are full time teachers, so "year" around here tends to mean from fall to fall.

Patreon.

This is the best and easiest way to support me as an artist. Set up a payment for as little as a single dollar a month and forget about it. I pay the payment processing fee.

As much as I completely adore my big ticket patrons, as you can see above, if one of them can't keep trucking it sometimes takes me months to recover. You know, it's too easy to imagine folks who light their cigars with hundred dollar bills just tossing money they don't really need at Writing About Writing. However, what's really happening is that real people (who aren't rich by any means) are reaching deep into their generosity, and when they lose a job or a contract or their house gets reappraised into a higher property tax bracket, that's no longer money they can afford not to have.

What I would love is if more people made small donations they could afford and kept the dozen or so folks from having to do all the heavy lifting. Yes, I have bills to pay, but there's no need for anyone to handle all of them.

Last year we cleared our fourth goal a few months after the pledge drive ended. I no longer need to think about driving Uber or Lyft or side gig jobs that are labor intensive. I still have to do the pet sitting but (in theory) once I'm settled into the client's house, I can whip out my laptop and keep writing.

There are more goals. Eleven of them, actually.

Image description:
White line drawing on black background,
a control button that goes from 1 to 11.
Title in faux Gothic lettering: This One Goes To 11.

My side gig situation is honestly pretty secure right now. I never want for pet sitting clients (in fact I'm trying to redo my price structure to kind of "discourage" the number of double-bookings I used to have), and a pretty rad opportunity might be opening up in property management if I can just be patient for a couple of years and help with admin once in a while in the meantime. Plus my nannying gig is secure for the time being.

So I can probably at LEAST keep doing what I'm doing right now for a bit longer without having to sell out to The Man™ and clutter up this page with advertisements for herbal Viagra. Eventually though, I need to make up the shortfalls that all these side gigs are covering. I haven't put a penny towards retirement in twenty years and my 401k is looking a bit like "Who Wants to Marry a Ten-Thousandaire."

Besides it only costs $5 a month to get biweekly selfies.

Epic cuteness could be yours!
Image description: Epic cuteness.

Future income goals involve a more stable living situation and at their loftiest and most ambitious even my retirement needs, but I know I won't be getting there next week. For now I just want to know it's plausible by making some progress to my next goal. And it might be nice in a year or three to be able to keep writing instead of doing summer school.

Since this blog's inception, due to the breathtaking generosity of patrons and donations from readers like you, we have been able to:
  • Quit teaching night classes during the regular year and write instead
  • Bring you more content
  • Remove the annoying ads
  • Up the number of high quality posts each week. 
  • (Not to put too fine a point on it, but we've been able to keep bringing you content through what would otherwise have been some completely devastating life transitions that would have put most bloggers on hiatus.) 
  • Gone from five posts a week to six
  • Take far fewer random/unscheduled days off

Here are some things I'd like to add if we continue to get more support:
  • Even more posts, and more high-quality posts (less jazz hands)
  • When I do have jazz hands, it's a better quality of jazz....or hands....or, um, both
  • A seventh and even eight post each week
  • A greater number of carefully (perhaps even professionally) edited and revised posts
  • More fiction!!
  • Always and ever free longer fiction (books)
  • An always, forever, ad free experience on Writing About Writing
For the mere cost of twelve dollars a year–just $1 a month–you get in on backchannel conversations with other patrons, polls, and conversations about future projects including sometimes me trying to get your input about what you'd like to see. My patrons get to know what's happening when I have to take an unscheduled day off or when trouble is on the horizon. But perhaps, most importantly, you'll get that warm and fuzzy feeling that you are supporting an artist to continue making art and entertainment. And obviously that just makes you a great person.

So if you like what I do and want to see me do more of it. Or if you want to continue to see me do it without ads, please consider a small pledge. We wouldn't have gotten this far without our current patrons, and we can't go any further without you.

Again here is that link: https://www.patreon.com/chrisbrecheen

And of course if committing to a monthly amount isn't feasible, you can always make a one-time donation through my Paypal (at the top left of the screen). 

Also, if you don't have a penny to spare (which I totes understand, yo), but still want to help, giving this post a comment, like, +1, upvote, little <3, or some type of engagement on the social medium where you found it will help it be seen by more people and is ALWAYS super helpful.

Thank you all so much. No matter what is feasible at this time or what you can spare. I couldn't have made it this far without all of you.

*goes to shower with steel wool*

2 comments:

  1. I kind of want to tell you that I'm fine with ads, but I understand why you want this to be an ad free space and I do appreciate having ONE little corner of the internet that does not bombard me with ads. So, I guess I'm just posting a comment.

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  2. Thank you. I really do appreciate how many people tell me they'd be okay if I had to go that route, but it would be my last choice before Day Job™ to be honest. Some will always abandon a place they see as having sold out. And I wouldn't be able to get away with some things I can right now if my blog were technically for profit. I have a couple of years though so hopefully the landscape looks different then.

    ReplyDelete