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

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Full Steam Into a Broken Future (Help Needed!)

[This article is an appeals post. It has some great insight into the actual numbers and monetization of being a working writer and how a modern working writer can make money before they have a big five contract, but I'm not going to try to "trick" you that this post isn't mostly about hoping you can spare a few bucks a month. I'll limit such posts to twice a month (once in the blog and once directly to social media) to keep down on the spam factor.

As always, if you want to help in a way that doesn't cost a dime, one of the simplest ways is to "like" (or +1 or upvote or whatever), comment, or share this post on social media so that the algorithms that drive them are more likely to show it to more people.]

We've been able to get some really good posts up lately, and keep our schedule going, even between all the train trips and vacations in the last month or so, and there are a lot more really great posts coming. Perhaps even better, I've been able to finally knock some solid word counts out on Triexta. This all happens if you give a mouse a cookie a Chris some free time. The great articles. The great ones to come. The fiction I've been able to work on. The better guest blog posts I've been able to find. All of that happened because of my patrons.

Let me say that again All of that happened because of my patrons.

You can be a patron too--through Patreon

I can't do any of this without you. The amount of work I'd need to do to maintain Writing About Writing as an unpaid gig would mean I could only update about 2-3 times a week, and with a "solid" article maybe two or three times a month. Even now, my usual week is about 65 hours. 35 or so of writing and another 30 of side gigs that help me pay the bills.

But you see what I can do when I am given the time to do it.

Let me show you what the end of the month (and beginning of the next month) usually looks like to me.

Image description:
$2 Deleted, $5 Deleted, $10 deleted, $1 deleted, $1 pledged....
It's tough enough being a freelancer, but watching that end of the month can be extra nail bitey.  (That's when Patreon sends out a message thanking everyone, and a bunch of people remember that they need to cancel.)  Then of course AFTER the payments go through, there's another wave of folks who are reminded that they need to cancel. My income goes down, then crawls back up over the month then drops down again right before I get paid. And if I'm lucky....it'll end up a net gain.

Not every job you can say you will never be sure if you'll take a 10% pay cut or get a $70 raise. Spin the wheel--let's see what THIS month holds!

Currently for September things aren't looking too terrible, but we haven't entered the "purge" period yet.
Image description "September 2018 summary: -3 in pledges, +2 patrons
MOST of this activity is out of my hands. I sometimes see things grow slower or take a slight dip when I'm not able to post as much, but it seems to have a lot more to do with people's lives than my update schedule. (Every time I ask about it, my patrons usually tell me that if anything, I could tone it down a little, and they'd be okay. I'm harder on myself about that than everyone else combined.)

This is why even small patrons are so very valuable. A thriving "ecosystem" of small donors can absorb a lot more of the monthly ebbs (and occasional big donor crisis) without me wondering if I need to cancel my cell phone and stop "splurging" on the good bread.  When my income goes down by 3%, it worries me a lot less than when it goes down by 15%.

My current goal is to have enough money to not lose ground when the individual insurance plans go up (because I'm freelance and have to buy insurance off the individual plan market) as the CBO says they will. Also to not be rocked when my taxes go up because I can't write off things like my office* anymore.

*For values of "office" that include a third of my bedroom where the desk is.

However, there is another cost looming, and it's gonna get serious soon.

When I left my last living situation where I was househusband and had zero expenses (and every penny I made from writing was spending money), most of my shit was recently purchased. That was over two years ago now. My laptop seems to be doing okay and my car hasn't needed any major work yet, but lots of stuff like that is coming. My wardrobe is getting threadbare. My phone died and needed replacing a couple of months ago. My free maintenance package on my Prius expired. A lot of little costs of living are starting to show up that I didn't have to deal with right away and it's raising my "expenses" column. Christ I'm even just starting to run out of the like mega Costco packs of non perishable shit like toothpaste, deodorant, and razor cartridge refills. They aren't things I can just blow off as bougie consumerism. (I'll be the first to admit that when my iPad dies, it might have to stay unreplaced for a long while, but I can't be quite so cavalier about, like, buying some new jeans.) I'd love to keep writing instead of going for that side gig.

So if you like this blog and the writing I do and want to see more of it, please consider a small monthly donation through Patreon.

And of course if a monthly donation isn't in your cards, a one-time donation through Paypal would be fine. I can even give you a P.O. Box if you want to mail a check or send some kind of care package or goods in trade instead of cash (contact me at chris.brecheen@gmail.com). I once got a package from someone who sent me their visual art as "an art for art trade" and it is framed on my wall and one of my most treasured possessions.

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