Poverty and the Writer.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m working poor. I need to hash some stuff out that involves money and art and ethics and stuff so buckle in.

First thing, I sat myself down and figured out that I need a list of things in order to do a few things:

  • Writing lesson stuff.
  • More paid content for Patreon in order to possibly increase revenue from that.
  • Short poetry/experimental films

So that’s the short n tiny list. I have a list of the things I need to make these things happen and all of it costs money. I’m in a position now where I’ve pretty much adjusted to the reality of my higher cost of living.

It’s not great, but it’s not tragic still.

Currently for basic living, not counting food or things like new underwear, socks or medications I spend about 41% of my monthly income.

Add in stuff like cell phones, internet/landline, medications, food, and things go up to almost 85-90 depending on what bills are due that month.

I’ve been looking at and rearranging my budget. Last month I felt pretty confident about life and added an extra few dollars so I could have Audible again. I suspended the service for a few months. I have been toying with getting Netflix because the partner and I aren’t able to get out as much on weekends, so it’d be nice to have a wider selection of new stuff to watch.

Whew.

Currently the plan I had worked out previously to get the things to make more money things happen is pretty proper fucked because my phone is dying. It’s served well, but it is a very low end smart phone from a long while back and poor old thing is trying but just kinda not working out.

Almost all of the things I want to do that involve some new to me ways of using social media, etc. rely on either having a camera or a good phone or both.

I have neither.

I had planned on working with my phone as is until about Xmas ish. I need a new plan.

This is where stuff is going to get intersectional.

Because of the changes (out of my control) in my household (read dayjob money) finances, I’ve had to restructure how I use my Patreon and other monthly donated or writing hustle money. (Note to self update Patreon about this) That being what it is, I’ve been working on adjusting while not killing my personal quality of life.

Initially I killed it. This is something I have a lot of economic trauma about and (as many poor kids will tell you) is something I fall back on. When things first started changing I did what came naturally to me. I killed my entire entertainment/self-care budget. I took it from about 35$ a month and maybe 50$ quarterly extra, to 14.

For a while I switched out my audible for keeping myself in a pound or so of good coffee a month for work.

I also downgraded the quality of food I was taking to work.

A few months of that as it always happens took a toll. I decided to rework and got a few extra writing hustle money dollars and reinstated my audible and a few times a week getting good food.

However, because I made those choices I had to stop my saving up for X thing (camera, tablet, phone) budget because money doesn’t come out of my ass.

Fast forward to right now.

Recently I’ve been encouraged to do a lot of writing work that would be great experience, great fun, etc. but none of it has been paid gigs. I can’t afford it monetarily or in terms of the finite amount of energy I have for my art.

So that’s not a viable avenue for me right now.

Next recent development is that I am so disgusted by so much of the freelance industry, my options for work there are limited. Yes, this is by my own choice. Frankly, it just stresses me out too much to compromise my ethics for 50$ here and there.

I decided to work out what I am going to need in the coming months and currently the cost (not complete) is just over 500$.

It is the season of my partner and I needing things like new underwear and pants. We need to replace some household stuff. We both need new pillows etc.

Me personally, I’m going to need Femme stuff. Foundation, bras, hair stuff soon.

All this in mind, here’s where I am.

I don’t entirely know what to do.

In order to produce my best work I need to not be in a constant state of panic and stress. In order to be in that place I need to know that my little family has our needs met. I need to be able to work my dayjob and write through my fatigue.

In order to do those things, the number one thing I need is some financial breathing room.

I can give myself, some by cutting out my quality of life again. I don’t want to do that, I know where that leads and the end result is that I can’t write my best.

I know I have patrons and some stuff, but the way my life has changed, it’s not enough. I have nightmares.

I believe in my art and ideas right now. Not in their profitability, but in the value of them.

But belief don’t pay the bills and a bitch gotta eat.

I know I could do another Gofundme. My last one to help me get to AWP wasn’t a total success but it was very very helpful.

However, I am very nervous about trying that again because I, uh, had an inability to raise ALL the funds left me feeling really terrible about myself and I am not sure if I’m ready to put myself back into that position.

I don’t know what I am going to do.

I also want to say that my actual lived life puts more of a light on the lie that I can not go to Starbucks my way to a better financial position. There’s been some great articles disassembling that whole mindset from the perspective of folks who don’t have 5$ a day to spend or save.

So here is where I am.

I’m trying to figure it out.

Right now I’m going to work out just how much the stuff I/we need will cost. Then, once I get a goodish on the high end total I’ll figure out how to pay for it.

In the meantime, the stuff I mentioned up top is going to be delayed again. That sucks, but, what’s to be done?

 

 

Arty Dreams, Costly Dreams. And the Hustle.

I’ve been allowing myself bigger artistic dreams. I have a whole emotional uh, issue around doing art. I am very uncomfortable calling myself an artist but I’m working it out.

That said, I’m realizing very strongly just how much I’ve denied myself these dreams because of a lack of resources and access.

I sat down and made a list of the stuff I want to mix together to make a Shannon Created Art Thing.

  • Experimental film
  • Poetry
  • Self portraiture
  • Field recording
  • Spoken word
  • Make up

So those are some of the things swirling around my brain in the form of dreamy ideas about ways to present myself/my work to the world that belong only to me.

The thing that I’ve found that gets me stuck is cash. I don’t have a good camcorder, I don’t have the time to create the stuff to make the portraits. I don’t have a good digital camera.

I started doing Patreon to help myself save up for that stuff but, my Patreon cash has mostly been swallowed up by life. I’ve been trying not to kick my own ass over that. I don’t control gentrification and cost of living increases. Logically I know I’m hustling as hard as I can but fuck y’all, shit is fucking hard.

And I’m not the sort of person to just let it go and hope shit will turn out for the best. I’ve done that and honestly the stress is too much for me.I’m not a single person with no responsibilities. I can’t just up and wander off like dandelion fluff.

I’m just not about that life or that method of funding my artistic life. No shade, if you can let go and let the universe do what it do, get it booboo. Do you.

Y’all, I’m so at a strange place.

I have all this desire burning in me. I have ideas and spend hours jotting down things I want to try out. Things I want to say and do with visual/audio art. I don’t know how to carve out that cash.

So I’m doing what I know how to do. I’m saving up Amazon affiliate money, Bing search amazon gift cards for a camera. One I can use to shoot photos and videos. Nothing too complicated. Just enough. By the way, I added a ton more books to my little amazon store. Check it out if you would please.

Uniballer my partner is researching video editing software that is less complicated so I can learn it.

I’m not freelancing as much as I could be but, we know that is better for my actual heart if it hurts my wallet.

I’m letting myself learn to write about art without the weird shame/embarrassment I have surrounding it.

I’m on that grind y’all.On that hustle.

I will be/do the art I want to fucking do. I will make that shit happen. Trust.

The State of Things In the Shannonverse

I’m skipping Yeah, Write this week because reasons.

So how about an update in all things art in the Shannonverse:

  1. I am starting to collect up my The World stories. Once I have them somewhat in order I am going to maybe experiment with making them a KDP select thing if I have enough pages.
  2. For right now, I’m keeping the Etsy store open. A few more orders have come in and I have no other plans for the stories that are available right now so why not?
  3. In my semi retirement from freelance work state, I still have a Contently page. You can check it out here. I feel like some traffic through there might be helpful to me? I dunno.
  4. I have a few big swing essays out. I’m sending another tonight.Only one of them pays but whatever.
  5. I’m kind of trying again, not to stress about freelance work so hard for SO many reasons.
  6. A very dear friend has suggested that I try my hand at (when my laptop is done being rebuilt) actually giving some writer talks for my Patreon account. Things about my flash writing methods, maybe some reader/writer questions? Maybe.
  7. I’m working on some other things, passion/putting my blood into it things that I’m not ready to talk about yet.
  8. I also made progress on teaching myself how to write about art.

So I’m doing a lot behind the scenes here. I’m a duck, floating and paddling madly under the water.

Outwardly I’m feeling kind of lacking, however looking at my files I know I’m doing shit. I’m just very impatient with myself and I want to put some stuff in the world.

That said I’m going to try really hard not to be an asshole to myself about it because that never works out for anyone.

If you want to read some new stuff or see some archived stuff head over to Medium and have a looksy around.

I’ve gotten some questions from folks about Medium and I’ll to a post about it later this week.

Things. Failure. Brokeness.

Let’s talk lit world stuff I’m into right now.

The first thing is that Yeah Write is doing something great. The Super Challenge:

The yeah write super challenge is a prompted challenge, where writers compete to complete the best work of short creative nonfiction in a single weekend. Prompts are released on Friday, and the completed work must be turned in by Sunday night.

The competition is run in three rounds. Half the writers will move to the second round of competition, and approximately ten writers will advance to the final round of competition. All competing writers will receive feedback on their work at the end of each round from the judges. The final ten writers will compete for cash prizes for first, second and third place.

Go check it out here. I think if you want to learn about flash essays, this is a great way to do it. No, they didn’t pay me. I just really like them.

What else?

So I’ll be unpublishing my chapbook The Motherfuckess Manifesta here soon. If you’d like a copy head here. It is 3.50 and all proceeds go towards keeping yours truly housed and fed.

Also one other thing before I get hella emo. Over at Patreon I posted a free Daiyuverse story you can get here. It is my first try at a romantic YA flavored thing.

Okay, I’m gonna put in a read more because I’m having feelings about being a failure. Being poor and unable to do all the things necessary to make my art/writing life more sustainable.

Continue reading “Things. Failure. Brokeness.”

Bucket List Progress.

Did I ever post my artist bucket list?

I think not, so here is it in part:

  • Make short poetry film
  • Submit to paying poetry market
  • Do some lit related youtubes
  • Keep Patreon going- up my content and maybe funding
  • Submit to contests
  • Arrange my own little writing retreat
  • Apply for some type of grant
  • Create/perform performance art
  • Write a short horror film
  • Build somewhat of a freelance thing
  • Create and sell writing classes
  • Break into a mainstream something

Those are just some of them.

So far this year I’ve kept my Patreon going. If you haven’t checked that out, here go look at this post. I posted my first YA-Queer romance flavored thing. A little side short story in the Daiyuverse. 

I’m trying to hype myself up to blend Patreon and the Youtubes and do some video. I’m still pretty self conscious about my webcam quality and fake teeth lisp.

I’ve started researching video editing so I can find software I can use.

What else?

I’ve made uh, inroads into trying my hand at mainstream pubs. On the advice of freelancers I trust I set myself a Contently portfolio.  Given my clips I am not sure I fit in but whatever. I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not?

What else?

Just today I made my first submission to a paid poetry thing.

Other arty farty shit.

I’ve decided not to print my own Motherfuckess Manifesta.  I’ve tried a few more times and frankly shit just makes me so anxious and upset because I can’t get it figured out. I am not a Zine Queen. That said, maybe should I save up enough dollars I can do a limited print run?

On the writing class front I have my curriculum for three classes. I want to write some more content and exercises for each and take some photos for them. I’m going to do a dry run on some folks and then release them probably by October.

What else?

I’m trying really hard to hang on to the idea that my goals and personal ethics in terms of what I will and won’t do with my work is okay. That no I don’t have to change so much I don’t like myself.

That said, I’m pretty knee deep in I don’t matter/I ain’t shit feelings and poor kid anxieties. I’m working really hard on not sinking into that, but shit is a fuckin struggle.

OH! Also, I did more work on my laptop *Gertie* and discovered that I didn’t make a bad decision. She’s a good little machine. The problem is mainly that EVEN microsoft does not recommend an OS above 7 for machines like her because they come stock with not that much memory. Not enough memory for 64 bit Win 8.1 which is what came stock on Gertie and has fucked her ALL the way up.

I dipped into my savings again so I could buy some new memory and will install that this weekend.

To help me increase my, uh, side hustling. I got back into the Amazon affiliate program and am building a little store. Basically right now it’s all beauty stuff, but I’ll be adding books, gadgets and other stuff. Consider it my ultimate dream store and if you click/buy I get some pennies. Check it out here. Hopefully with that side hustle and a few others I can buy this for myself in a few months.

So that’s it for now. I’ve got writing and submitting and research to do.

This has been an installment of Be That Shit University.

Where the Artist Dreams Themselves into Reality

I’ve been kind of keeping to myself a bit. As they say I’m in the fuckin weeds again.

The last few weeks (again, a-fucking-gain) have been really emotionally traumatic for me. I was able to make sure a friend was not at Pulse that night, though, the odds that she was were really high.

Other shit has happened.

My heart is aching.

I’ve been squatting in the intersections where I live and work and everything and have had a few Oh. Shit. Come To Jesus conversations with myself.

While I’ve been (still) trying to do some more freelancing, I’ve come to realize more than ever that because I’m who I am, a lot of those opportunities are not for me.

I have been feeling this kind of deep burning guilt. The kind that kills my ability to write the good shit. A bunch of little things piled up to become a big lava rock in my gut.

The thing with freelancing is that I just don’t like how a lot of publications do things. I understand that nobody gives a shit because that’s how they make money, but, I just can’t.

I don’t really want to write bullshit for pennies.

And I’m not good at fast turnaround bullshit.

I feel like I already spend a lot of time not doing the arty shit that moves me. And though I’m full of passions I’m still timid because money is a real fucking thing.

I know if I could churn out more freelancey content and get paid a lot of things would be easier financially but emotionally that makes me feel numb.

The other problem is frankly, I have zero fucking chill. I know I’ve probably  hurt the feefees of some editors because I have a big fucking mouth and I’m not with a lot of bullshit. On one hand, I’m sure that at least one of the White writers who told me that my big mouth and not putting up with racist shit attitude would be to my own detriment were entirely right.

On the flipside, maybe my loud mouth might get through to a person or two someday.

I guess it’ll be okay. I’m still struggling not to feel like I’m doing everything in some bullshit manner because I don’t want to further compromise my heart.

I’ll stay plugging away at Patreon. I’ll have my etsy shop. Sometimes writing will pay for a bill or two and I think that’s gonna be okay for me.

What else is happening?

I’m about to (after I install new memory in my laptop) start learning video editing and maybe I will in fact produce a tiny poetry film this year.

I’ve been working on essays. Narrative essays and some kind of poem like essays about shit I want to talk about.

And some other stuff.

I’m still pretty awash in poor kid guilt but god damn it, I get to make art too. You know?

 

A Confession from your Problematic Fave

Y’all.

I have a terrible confession to make.

Most of my Yeah, Write entries have been not just funsies flash, but, I’ve been experimenting on your readers.

This has been a little bit of a long long con.

I’ve long held the theory that a lot of what makes us not read particular genres isn’t necessarily subject matter or levels of say gore or terror but, in how it is presented. I’ve known people who refuse REFUSE to read anything that looks even pulpy or horrory or romancey because EW I don’t read those genres.

My experiment has involved presenting the reader, you- a thing that is either snugly or loosely genre fiction.

I have given you noir, fabulism, horror, quiet horror, slipstream, Non Western style literary fiction etc.

This week for yeah, Write I presented Lovecrafty fiction. Specifically, it was the quietest of Nyalathotep stories. Folks liked it. A friend of mine asked if it was from my archive of ideas for short scripts.

I was trying to satisfy both the literary reader, the quiet horror and on another level the Lovecraft nerd.

Here is what I did.

One of the hallmarks of Lovecraft (racism and fuckery aside) is the language he used and the names of things. Working from both memory and some resources like this website, I took some of his favorite words and used them in modern contexts:

The Gibbering Loon.

Somewhere deep inside his antediluvian self,

ululations

The next Lovecrafty clue was in how I referred to the mysterious Vivian.

When he lifts his face to look into her eyes, he sees, he sees the secrets of the Sleeping, Dreaming Gods and the black notice of the Outer Gods.

References Lovecraft fans know well.

I also decided to make her unmistakably Black. I have had an ambition to use Blackness in these Lovecrafty stories in a way that heals that particular wound for my inner baby nerd.

And Vivian herself tells us who she is:

“See inside me, I am the Crawling Chaos. I am reborn. Be mine, Detective St. Pierre.”

We Lovecraft dorks know what the Crawling Chaos is without having to invoke the name Nyarlathotep.

What interests me more, is that folks who I know aren’t necessarily Lovecraft dorks, got the terror.

Folks from Yeah, Write and some others I’ve spoken to have not totally understood, but y’all understand without the need for the genre restrictions that might make your eye as a reader skip it because, horror.

I have always believed that how we’re presented with things matters deeply, perhaps more deeply than a lot of folks like to think of themselves, as to how we take in and appreciate a thing.

As a reader, this is just human nature. I don’t think it is good or bad, it just is. And we can recognize it and make the decision to do something else. Read POC, do the year of no cis hetero White male authors.

As a creator, I’ve found that because this is where I live. In these inbetween places. In a place where I just write the shit. Trying to squirm around the constraints of genre work, has played a huge role in my development as a writer.

On one hand it does make it harder to get published sometimes.

On the other, I get to engage in Quiet Horror and sneak into your brain or your bed and live there for a bit.

Ultimately, as an artist the latter is far more satisfying to me personally.

It feels better for longer when someone says, I was thinking about this thing you made for three days.

I also get the satisfaction of representing what I’d like to read.

I get to fully plumb the depths of my own brain without worry or feeling like because I am writing X genre, I must do X thing.

I’m considering my experiment to be successful.

I am writing what the fuck I want to write.

Sometimes I have readers who feel it.

Sometimes I have readers who are like, I don’t know what the fuck is happening, but I’me with it.

I’m into it.

So now that you know what I’ve been doing, I hope you come back to see where else I go.

Thanks y’all.

Thank you for helping me get to this place, I’m eternally changed and grateful.

I was going to do a shout out list, but it got too long. Y’all know who you are.