Apparently a lot of writers are talking where they get money etc right now.
I’ve read several of these articles and I must confess to a lot of eye rolling.
So how about the view from the bottom?
99% of financial support for my life comes from the job I have been working for more than a decade. I don’t make a lot of money.
I support my disabled partner. I live in Seattle. I’m pretty poor. Not dire straits.
Back in the day the only times I made money writing was about 25-100$ writing smut. The most I got paid was by a couple of very specific fetishists who liked how I wrote their fetishes.
I have made very little money writing fiction. I got paid for non smut fiction from, uh, shit it was yonks ago. But I opted for payment in the form of getting an anthology. I got paid for being in Thuglit.
I write for XOJane for 50$ a pop, which is apparently pathetic according to a few regular commenters.
So all in I’ve maybe made a thousand dollars (I’m over estimating a bit) in ten years. Also counting content mill work, ad copy, adult blog/toy patter etc.
Now the eye rolling, I kind of don’t give a shit where other writers get their money unless we’re talking waht publications pay and that sort of thing.
A lot of these articles seem to miss the privilege of having someone be able to financially support you while you struggle. If you struggle. Or the privilege of being hot on the internets so name recognition gets you a bit ahead.
A lot of these articles don’t talk about writers like me who don’t need to hear about how blessed someone is that their spouse/family/whomever makes enough money to support them so they can write full time and work up to making money.
I feel like folks like me need to know how to care for ourselves when we work 12 hours a day at a day job.
Managing stress when bills are late, kids need medication etc etc.
I find a lot of advice about writing that assumes that it’s a good choice to decrease hours at a dayjob, or that you have a safety net, that you won’t wind up homeless if you decide to work a dayjob less.
Now how do I fund this shitshow?
Currently my webhosting fees and formerly my Duotrope and AWP memberships are out of the household budget. Usually the months I pay for that stuff I don’t have an entertainment budget.
That being what it is, I actually haven’t reupped either my membership to Duotrope or to AWP. I can’t afford to go to AWP this year so it’s an expense I can skip.
Funding my writing means I figure out when I can lose sleep, I don’t subscribe to that many literary magazines, I have to decide if I’m going to try to work on fiction that I will probably not get paid for is better for me right now than trying to get paid for some non fiction.
Do I push myself to freelance more even though I know that I’m just not that great at it?
I don’t buy a lot of books when they are new even if I am in them. Shit I STILL don’t have a print copy of any of the things I’ve been in except for Thuglit.
I don’t do writing retreats.
I don’t do seminars.
I go to work. I write catch as catch can.
If I’m able to healthwise I write between 2-4 AM.
Otherwise my writing is unsponsored.
Or I should say my writing is brought to you by insomnia, sweat and poverty.
This is why I have the etsy shop.
This is what it means when I post on whatever social media at 4 AM, that I am on that grind.
So yay if you’ve got it like that. However I won’t be reading any more articles about it because it has nothing to do with my life and any advice that goes along with it assumes a lot of privilege I don’t have.
So there’s the view from the bottom of the heirarchy.
I can also say that after all these years I’m very proud and very astonished that I still do this. Through near homelessness, financial crisis, stress on a level that caused me to brown out in a hospital room waiting for my partner to get out of emergency surgery and me not being sure we’d have a home to go back to-so you know real shit.
All that and other shit and I’m still doing it.
And sometimes, my work reaches out and touches somebody. Somebody has wept, somebody has laughed, somebody has had to go masturbate, somebody has had an AHA moment and that while it doesn’t make it all better it ain’t bad y’all.
It ain’t bad.