Category Archives: indie adventures

On changes and the finances.

Okay so since I’ve decided to alter how I finance this shit show of a thing I want to talk about how it is going.

I’ve given up trying to freelance regularly. I will still occasionally when I am able to write for XoJane or other spots but, the constant hustle of trying to do it weekly was not working for me at all.

Now as far as what I’m paying for month to month it’s pretty simple. My cell phone, my renter’s insurance. Hopefully if things go well premium Spotify.

Currently I’m in the black and my cell phone and insurance are both covered for this month and next. I’ve also been able to set aside 10$ in my little savings account to go into my new laptop fund.

If Patreon keeps going well I will be able to reup my Duotrope subscription at the end of next month. And in July rejoin AWP.

So far none of my new methods are profitable. I’m not super worried about that just yet.

So what else am I doing?

I am writing things like my old school blog posts for my Patrons and Paypal donors. After a few weeks I will likely make these as quick n easy downloads in my etsy shop as well.

With help from Milcah I’m using Smartypig to help me save for my laptop. One of the things I love about this is that when I panic or have poverty brain meltdown I can’t touch this money. Many of my wise friends have suggested something like this and I’m into it.

http://www.smartypig.com/widget/SmartyPigWidgetMultiGoal.swf?ServiceUri=http%3a%2f%2fwww.smartypig.com%2fWidget.asmx%2fGetWidgetInfo%3fwidgetId%3d&WidgetId=d4683a07-ae3d-4262-9daa-8dd8b9e8defd UH so wordpress won’t let me use the widget but if you click this long ass link you can see how I’m doing, you can join up and use it for your own goals or if you want throw some pennies in the piggy bank.

So far I feel okay and like things are going to where I need them to be in order to produce my best work.

This is already paying off in that I was able to settle down, finish up some fiction, submit some and get one acceptance.

Overall, while this is nerve wracking for me and I really don’t like that I can’t operate in a more profitable way and still write great things, this is slowly working out.

I’m still trying to settle in to a new methodology with my writing. I have some further plans that require the lighter travel worthy laptop and some sleep.

Now I gotta get some work done.

Next week I’m going to talk about Lovecraft some more because I’m almost done rereading the Necronomicon, I have a bit to say about the Hugo situation and Sad Puppies. I might even get excited and talk about fandom stuff and how way back when I was pretty much turned off to it forever.

Also listen to this Rihanna song, it is kinda my theme music for the week.


Other Ways to Support my Work

Since launching my Patreon campaign (which is doing really well THANK YOU) I’ve had a number of folks who aren’t into the monthly thing ask what else they can do.

Financial stuff-

Buy some fiction or non fiction over in my Etsy shop. I’ve got some horror, some erotica, experimental SF. The most expensive thing is five bucks. I know you can get whole novels on amazon for a dollar but, that story is pretty special to me and I worked on it for about 8 months. There are other things from 1$ on up. I even have a coupon available til the end of the month, enter WARG95 at checkout for 25% off a two dollar purchase.

Click on over here and check out my links on the right. You can buy stuff I’ve hand picked in my Amazon A store. I’ll be adding more stuff, books, mainly later.

You can try out Audible for a month and get yourself a free audiobook and me a lil pocket change.

At the suggestion of a friend I’m also adding an Amazon wishlist of stuff I would like that is writing related. Books, notebooks, my favorite pens and whatnot.

For transparency Amazon is my slowest and least lucrative thing. Frankly, I use it to shore up my orders when I buy self care supplies and whatnot.

The other always open option is a tip in my paypal tipjar. You can navigate over there to the right and hit the button. Anything is always appreciated.

Here’s what my financial stuff is going towards currently:

  • I need a very lightweight non netbook laptop so I can use my time better and get some writing done that is not dependant on an internet connection and not using my chunky butt old dell.
  • A few under 100$ software upgrades to make my life easier.
  • Saving up for AWP16. I am going and I want to make sure I can afford it. Everything that is non essential is going into my Get Me to AWP fund.

The most important thing this is getting me is some breathing room. So when I try hard to do the freelance it just destroys me. I am not good at it and it stresses me out to the point where I have a lot of trouble just writing because I want the freelance thing to go well so badly.

It is a terrible cycle that impedes my ability to just write the shit I want to write.

I just can’t operate in a great way when I’m under so much pressure.

Now non monetary things you can do to support my work.

A lot of us are broke right now and that’s totally okay. You are always free to share links to my blog here, my work, my everything.

Come like my Facebook writer page and share it with your people.

So that’s all.

Right now I’m working on some stuff I’m super excited about INCLUDING some sf, an essay about butt selfies and my ass and some other things.

Thanks for rolling through.

 


E Tu Horror Markets?

I spent a good portion of the day getting into some horror markets.

Uh.

Y’all, yes I’ve been away from the horror markets for a long ass time. I have some issues.

First one.

Manuscript format.

While yes, I understand why people stick to it, what I don’t really like is that that format does not fit how I write. I use paragraph breaks and other things both for effect and for aesthetics. It’s just how I work and as I learned with Bernie, trying to jam that into manuscript format just changes the reading experience in a way that I feel detracts from my work as a whole.

That is something I’ve tried to change. It just doesn’t work for me and I don’t really know of a good reason to make it a genre thing. By comparison the literary submissions I’ve made aren’t nearly so precious about sticking to that one format as being the only acceptable format.

This leads into another point I’ll get to later.

The next thing is the snail mail submissions.

I mean, can we please PLEASE be in the future here? Back in the day when emailed submissions were few and far between I saw a lot of editors wax poetic about how very serious someone who submits via mail must be and how they took those submissions more seriously.

Can we not?

Additionally to go along with that while I’ve been researching I’ve seen some of the ugliest websites with awful navigation, updates that don’t match (buy the new issue but our news section hasn’t been updated since 2008) type stuff.

Even with big deal pro mags, I keep seeing this and it makes me feel uncomfortable submitting. If I am as a potential submitter am supposed to be professional enough to adhere to modified or stringent manuscript formats, how to phrase the cover letter yadda yadda, I do expect some of the same. Update your goddamn website. Or at the very least say, we’re not updating this anymore catch us on facebook or whatever.

Work it out. As a reader I don’t even want to buy a new issue if things look abandoned on the website front.

Next thing is a little controversial but what the hell.

As I was reading through various submission things and reading stories that I’ve had bookmarked for a while, I keep seeing some disturbing patterns.

I will also touch on this next week because I have one HELL of a deep review for y’all.

The amount of what I find to be weird conservatism around certain things bothers me deeply.

I have seen a lot of no bad words, or only justified bad words (the fuck does that even mean).

Side by side, I find horror markets far more constrictive and uh, stuck on the idea that if you use a lot of profanity or if a story is very violent it is just not good enough because obviously those things are bad.

My view is this.

Horror in general is not a nice place. It is a wide place, a huge place where stories can have not one fuck uttered and not a drop of blood spilt and still be amazing.

Stories can also have a lot of profanity and oceans of blood and be amazing. I don’t see or understand why there has to be such a chasm between the two.

I also don’t see why the former seems to be the correct aesthetic.

Who are these readers who are seeking horror but can’t handle someone saying fuck?

Can we not have all of these things?

As a reader it feels squeamish and very narrow.

For me as both a reader of, lover of and writer of horror I want to have the space to get into shit that is very uncomfortable.

For instance.

When I was submitting this story around prior to it getting picked up a lot of the feedback was about changing it to make the narrator genderless.

Mainly because, of course the me I was working with were uncomfortable with the gratuitous violence as fantasized about by a woman.

I’m not saying that is exactly what’s going on in the industry, but it has shades of it.

I want horror that gives me something to be haunted by. I want to not be wondering how many naughty words or bloody bits got taken out.

This leads me to also think about that whole clean app bullshit. No Clean Reader. My dear friend wrote about it, read that here.

Okay indulge me for a minute.

If I am a writer and I say fuck. We the reader can believe easily that after the work has passed through varying sets of hands, the word fuck was meant.

Writing doesn’t happen by magic.

I believe in both intentional writing  and intentional reading.

I am so beyond done with the idea that readers are innocent flowers who get smacked in the face by evil. I try to read reviews when I book shop and I wind up so angry.

This book had SEX IN IT OMG. You bought an erotica book.

This book IS VIOLENT. THIS HAS TOO MANY BAD WORDS. etc.

If something is adult oriented, I feel like it should be expected that there might be some adult oriented shit in it. That might be violence, it might be bad words, it might be eroticized violence, it might be a Yeti butt fucking the ever loving shit out of a prince.

I am just nerd ranting now. I’ve gotten off topic.

Shocking right?

Okay so back to horror and my work.

I feel like the industry is not really for me right now. The things I like to play with and discover and explore are not curse, violence or sex free enough for most of the publications I’ve seen.

The other problem is that this stuff is not literary enough for lit mags. It is horror. Proudly horror with demons, ghosts, paranormal shit happening.

I don’t know.

I guess I just don’t understand how it is I could read upwards of 25-30 horror magazines in recent history and find so much of the same stuff.

A lot of it was beautifully written. Lovely great stories. Some excited me quite a bit.

But things were kind of homogenous.

The same gross outs- periods, fat women, etc.

Carefully non profane language.

Well done but I am missing the edge. The fear. The thing that makes me love horror.

That being what it is, I will probably continue to keep mine in my little etsy shop. I posted a few etsy links up there and I have a new story available in the shop right now.

Experimental horror involving drug use, disbelief, demons and change. Content warning.

This is grown folks lit.

There are bad words, pretty wicked dude, demons, desperation and metamorphasis. Filtered through the lens of a former drug addict. Here is a taste:

Once upon a time I had a golden arm. For a while my entire life revolved around the acquisition and shooting of as fine a grade of heroin as I could afford.

Speaking from that experience, I am what us professionals call alpha sad dog junkie. I lived it for a long time. Among some of the other junkies I knew at the time I was king sucks dick for horse type.

I know need.

I’ll talk about that story next week and how it came to be. Get it here and use coupon code WARG95 for 25% off your whole purchase in the shop.

Next week I have a huge announcement to make, a big ass squee filled book review, more Yeah Write and some other really awesome stuff.  So come back.

 


Some Business and then some nerd thoughts.

Business first.

We know I don’t do a whole ton of ads but if you look on the right hand side there under the paypal thingy, I’ve added an affiliate link to Audible. You can try it out for a month and get a free audiobook. I LOVE audiobooks and honestly it works out for all of us. So if you wanna do that, it’s there.

Second bit of business.

I am announcing a major thing next week and am going to need some help and probably a little proverbial bum rubbing soothing type shit.

OKAY

So, Yeah Write this week holy shitballs. Focus on Historical Fiction.

Honestly while I’ve read a good bit of it, my entry this week was the first time I’ve ever tried to write any. I’ve always thought of historical fiction as kind of a no go zone for me personally. A lot of historical fiction I’ve read I just haven’t really cared about.

Why?

Well per usual Whiteness. WHitewashed history from everywhere in the world is just not really my jam at all.

Now my first instinct was to go ancient history. I’m a fanatic for ancient history and considered doing a flash piece to take place in Babylon.

But then I started thinking about my own history. I turned 38 last month and I was thinking about the history I have witnessed and how it is rare that historical fiction has touched on my history as a Black person in America that doesn’t involve slavery.

I flashed on Rodney King. I was in high school at the time and I can tell y’all that shit devastated me. To that point while I already knew to mistrust police in general and avoid speaking to them when possible, I had not really experienced that type of violence in my life.

I remember watching that man get beaten and then in my very White area having to hear what people said about him. Memories like that led to things like this piece.

During the Riots I started learning how to see them outside of the lens of Whiteness and little old teenaged me, mouse me realized that I got it.

I fucking understood. In my heart, I wanted them to burn down the entire city. I felt in my heart that I understood and connected with that level of rage.

Fast forward to me writing that piece while standing at a bus stop.

I wanted to dip into that time and a voice. I was thinking about girls I knew like the narrator. I had the voice I wanted. And the time and it happened.

I also played with the sense of memory and remembering. She wasn’t really telling the story but thinking it so I played with the tenses a little. Past, present and past at the end. I did do that on purpose based on how I remember things.

Now I’ve written some stuff before that was set in the past but, I hadn’t really made the emotional connection to calling it historical fiction because that is not what I’ve seen historical fiction be.

And let’s pause there.

That is something pretty profound to me.

From reading (affiliate links sorry)  Ancient Evenings: A Novel and things like that as a kid, even when they were about POC it wasn’t ever Black lit.

Or if it was historical and written by a Black person, it wasn’t ever historical fiction it was Black fiction only.

There was an important emotional and visceral connection I had to make. My history is history.

That is at the core of a lot of me finding my voice and using it. I have had to emotionally and viscerally reclaim things I thought belonged to (as I would have said at one time) real writers and as I would say now Whiteness.

I am 90% sure I will return to that voice from that story. Stories like hers and others that are floating around in my head deserve to told and honored as history.

Okay that’s all for right now.

 


Some thoughts on art and sustainability.

Okay so the main part of my financial OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK emergency is pretty much over and I can settle down and think. What follows is some real talk.

As things settle down on the household front I’ve had some time to think about my writing and what I want out of it financially and whether or not that is actually in reach for me.

At first thought I panicked. The idea of any kind of patronage beyond what people have done for me (the tips, using my affiliate links, the chromebook, pants when I needed a pair) just freaks my shit right out. I’m not a person used to having people do such kind things for me and emotionally while it is wonderful it’s also super hard. I don’t know what to do and get overwhelmed.

This part of creating is so new for me. Knowing that I have reached out from the void and touched people enough to buy things I’ve written or be supportive of my voice is just overwhelming. It’s great. Yes it is fucking awesome but it’s also scary.

That is something I just have no clue how to navigate but I am working on it. That bit of OH SHIT OH SHIT has been downgraded to awww shit yeah.

SO that part I’m getting a handle on.

The next part is the idea of doing something formalized like Patreon presents a fuckload of issues and pushes a lot of my buttons.

First problem. When someone suggested I try out Patreon my first instinct was but who the fuck am I? A lot of the folks I know who are/have used patreon have huge followings.

I don’t think I do.

I mean, I’m not sure?

Do I have the uh, right to ask this? I feel like I already ask a lot. Read my shit that might make you hella uncomfortable, spread the word. That feels like a lot.

This comes from me doing this by myself.

I have (for my entire adult life and through most of the things I do) this idea that I in particular am not supposed to ask for help or support on this level.

Cue cognitive dissonance like a mother fucker.

On a logical level I know that if I could wrangle even like 60$ a month through something like Patreon I would in a few months be far enough ahead to not only get the bare bones shit taken care of but to maybe resubscribe to PW or buy the external harddrive for back up that I need.

When I boil down the what do I want out of this patronage idea it’s mainly a little bit of space to relax.

I have been told by people that I do deserve to have financial support and payment for my work.

Accepting that as a thing I can even think about has proven to be way more difficult than I anticipated. The first time someone said that to me without any buts or if you did X, I ugly cried in the shower because I never thought that would be a thing I could expect or think about.

I feel like it’s really important for me as a human being to document this stuff. THis is the stuff I wanted to know about when I was a wee kidlet writer.

Also this shit is just fucking hard.

So the takeaway for me is that I need to consider this.

I need to remember that yes it is in fact okay for me in particular to ask for support. Also to be sad if I can’t make happen what I want to happen.

I am working on really narrowing my focus as to what my needs are so I can articulate it for a possible patreon thing.

That’s all for right now.

Things are happening that are exciting.

But also scary as fuck.


The View From the Bottom. I did the math.

In an attempt to soothe away some of the anxiety I’m having right now I made a list and did the math to figure out what would keep my writing sustainable.

When I say sustainable I’m talking about things like memberships, software, and hosting. I’m not talking about making any profit at this point.

I’m not going to detail the specifics but here’s how it breaks down:

  • Yearly not counting any hardware (computers) +/- 10$ is 287.16
  • Monthly that is 23.93

That seems pretty cheap no?

What that doesn’t provide for is when my computer(s) break, no travel or time off from work for readings, no writing conferences or other educational/networking events.

This year I elected to skip more than half of the things in my budget. Mainly because we’ve had some family expenses that have eaten up a lot of our savings. There is no room in this budget to enter my work into any competitions, submission fees, books of the educational variety.

Given that in my life outside of writing shit is difficult economically speaking, trying to do these things as well has proven to be stressful and depressing.

Now we know I hustle. When I can there is XOjane but that is not all that regular. I don’t have the time for something with a heavier commitment. This is why I opened my Etsy store but frankly that is not all that successful. If I make 5$ a month with that it’s pretty cool.

That being what it is I’ve thought about maybe trying out Patreon.

I feel like if I could lift some of the financial stress I could improve my output and free up enough brain space to write more of the shit I want to write.

Enter writerly self doubt.

I am not famous. I’m not sure I even know enough people with a few dollars to spare a month to do this. Real talk I feel like a lot of folks like my work but not enough to support it in that manner.

I had another idea of doing monthly dispatches (kinda like the Rumpus letters in the mail but via email) for a flat few bucks a month type deal.

Again, I have to factor in the likelihood of enough people being interested in order to make the work involved worth it.

I hate thinking about that part, I want to be one of those I DO IT FOR THE ART types but that is not my life.

My thought process also involves things like:

  • Going to/performing at readings both locally and far away as Portland. I would need to be able to take the time off of work, have travel options. Things like if the reading is in the Capital Hill neighborhood here in Seattle, there is the cost of buses (from my home that is about a 2 hour bus journey, and if my partner is coming maybe more to cut down walk time), taxis (from my house to the middle of downtown is 35$) etc.
  • Enough spare money in the budget for books. Not pleasure reading but things more craft related.
  • Money for maybe a local small conference or workshop. I’ve never been to one I got the most out of but I’d like to try.

Also maybe enough little bit of profit to buy a pair of shoes or get my nose pierced. Enough to save up for next years AWP, enough to maybe buy a brand new totally up to date real laptop.

And most importantly I want to keep the more necessary things out of the household budget. It just stresses me out too much to be taking from that when I know my partner needs medication, to re up his bus pass, new shoes, new cane tips. We need a new shower head, our electric bill is fucking ridiculous right now etc.

I don’t need or want to be rolling in cash.

I really just want a little freedom. A little less stress. A little more space to do more with my work because I feel like my writing is going really good places. But I can’t go those places if I’m so stressed out I’m having nightmares and the fiery shits.

I’m not usually so open about this stuff. On an emotional level it just destroys me that basic sustainability is so close but not close enough. I’ve already sacrificed my entertainment and other for me for fun things, I don’t have new shoes, I don’t have clothes for Spring.

Shit just fucks me up.

So I’m going to keep considering patreon and just try to get through it without giving myself an ulcer.

That’s all for now.


Some Win and Some Angst.

Y’all.

I’m having a strange, wonderful and terrible week. I returned from vacation to a huge, costly emergency thing that has sent me into a panic spiral I’ve been trying to claw my way out of. I’ve been trying to work on stuff while stuck in a panic circle and shit is hard.

I’m getting through it and we have financial shit handled. It’s tight and stressful but we’re doing it.

AND THEN.

So this happened:

mypome

I posted that poem on Ink Node on my birthday. Read it here.

So that was pretty awesome.

Then I wrote about that Kenneth Goldsmith thing. Read it at Medium.

I imagine those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while can hear me sigh from here. I am not surprised. I am also not surprised by the dazzling lack of word from other famous White people.

But seriously, do better.

At this point, this type of blind privilege being swung like a hammer is just banal. I’m tired and I’m not even really angry I’m just tired.

Honestly when I read about this shit, a lot of what I’m thinking is how much people get paid for it. And then I think about my own finances and that of other writers who are writing really great literature that doesn’t shit on people and we don’t make dick.

I think about the fact that this bullshit will probably not cause this dude’s pockets to be any emptier.

I think about the fact that real talk, I am struggling to keep my writing sustainable. It’s just so infuriating. It’s so fucking hard.

It’s so hard to keep producing the kind of writing folks are getting to know me for when I’m juggling the 12 hour dayjob work days (I include my 4 hour round trip commute), trying to write Self Care Like A boss for release, write new fiction, write poems, work with precarious tech. Try to get published blablablablabbity blabla fuck I’m poor and so tired.

While trying to have a life with my partner and sometimes buy new shoes.

Sometimes I feel like, okay who’s gonna give me money to be a professional asshole?

I guess I’m having one of those weeks where the stress and just bullshit is getting to me. Yeah, fuck yeah I’m fucking bitter about this.

I’m exhausted.

I just want to make my fucking art and maybe make enough money to buy stuff like software and maybe a really great drink once in a while without feeling like I have to sacrifice and walk the line between okay and oh shit. I want to be free to be more excited about the good writing things going on in my life without this bullshit getting in the way.

I don’t know man.

This shit ain’t romantic.

I think that’s all for right now. This is not what I wanted to talk about today. Come back tomorrow and I’ll be talking about a new podcast I like and K Tempest Bradford’s evil anti White dude (insert eye roll here..oh internets) reading challenge. Also it’s not really anti White dude at all just to be clear.

So go read my things there. I’m actually really proud of them.


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