I was talking to another writer not long ago and the subject of risk came up.
This got me thinking about the risks I take to do this.
Like poor folks everywhere, every word I write that I don’t get paid for pains me in a special way. The time I spend writing, editing and trying to promote those things, could be time spent earning income some other way.
This is a mode of thinking I fight daily, or every time I need a new pair of pants or socks. I look back at things like my pieces at Medium, or the reprints/originals I put up at Etsy (I even have a coupon code right now PCMADNESS for 15% off your total order). And those do little for me in the way of income. And income is the thing that I tend to need the most.
While I’d love to breezily give my words away whenever I damn well please, it’s a risk for me. It doesn’t always but days like today when I realize how badly I need new glasses and I feel slightly guilty for buying stuff for my house- well the risk and the reward just don’t really add up together.
Before I started this entry I had to fight myself pretty hard not to go into a spiral of shame because my freelancer abilities aren’t up to whatever random ass standard I think they should be at today, part of this is also sparked by the loss of a bunch of work because of tech problems.
I know damn well that I’m not good at being a timely money making machine type writer.
I know that.
That said, I do get discouraged when I see folks banking on work that is very similar to my own in terms of content. And when I realize how much shit I need for my house, and I need new underwear and glasses it stings a bit more.
I’m struggling with not feeling good enough. If X person can write about the same stuff I do and make money at it, I must be shit at at it.
And please I’m not fishing for compliments here. I’m trying to keep it 100% as I keep promising.
So this is yet another risk.
I don’t want to be poverty, pain porn for anyone.
Yet, I do feel like it’s probably valuable in some way to talk about this stuff shame and all.
This feels like a bigger risk than all my yelling about racism in literature, my ragey poetry where I name names, or anything else I holler about. Showing my tender underbelly and expressing my fears about money and art is fucking hard.
I think a lot of my difficulty is that while intellectually I can shout from the rooftops that my work, my voice, my labor is worth compensation.
Emotionally, I still grapple with this. Emotionally, I still don’t feel good enough. I still don’t feel confident enough to just say hey fuck you pay me.
Sometimes I am crippled by a wide ranging reeking jealousy that I can’t always shake.
Today isn’t that day, but I’m struggling today.
All that said, I have work to do.
I am going to pout about my data loss for another ten minutes, then get to work.
Including, later today a brand new love letter from me to you if you’d like to sign up for my official writer loveletters.