Category Archives: indie adventures

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.


The Sexy Part of the Bible, Hustling and I’m back from my vacay.

I turned 38 last week and took a real vacation wherein I did zero work. This is the first time I’ve done that as an adult and while it was nice it did cause me a great deal of anxiety. I will likely at least write if I take another vacation. I found it pretty stressful not to be working on things. I feel like that is mostly due to Poverty Brain because we spent a good deal of money and that freaks me out.

I did however do some reading. Check out stuff I finished up over on Goodreads. Short version. I tried to read the last book in the Vampire Chronicles and just no.

I was really just reminded of how problamtic her vampire ‘verse is and I kept looking back to baby me and seeing how damaging that was to my baby writer brain. The whiteness, the subtle shade towards Ancient Brown folks of varying sorts while Ancient White folks knew everything. Just…gross.

I’ve also been reading the Sexy Part of the Bible by Kola Boof. I’ve had the book on my radar since I saw the announcement from Akashic but didn’t pick it up until last month.  I’ve been aware of Kola Boof for a long time, I’ve read some really racist shit about her and a lot of hateful stuff by men.

The thing I find interesting is like a lot of other Black women I like, she is just not here for it.

Now this book is weird, weird in a lush fleshy good way. Her prose is very juicy and I imagine for folks who are very into a linear type narrative. It is linear but not strictly so. It meanders a bit in the beginning in a way I find really interesting.

This is one of those books where the prose is so juicy and delicious I’m reading the book really slowly. I can’t totally pin down what slows me down about her work but I will report back in when I’m done with it. I want to savor it like a dessert.

What else?

I am about to start on a super seekrit project that I am super excited and terrified of. I’m trying to find some more ways to support my writing with extra income since hardcore freelancing is just not my thing.

What else?

OH this episode of Dear, Sugar is great.

I haven’t been crocheting enough lately so I’m going to make this for myself.

I think that’s all for right now. More later this week.

 


Every Day I’m Hustlin

For reference this is the song that inspired the title.

The salient bit if you don’t like hip hop is the first line of the verse:

Who the fuck you think you fuckin’ with, I’m the fuckin’ boss

I am trying to embody this. Hustlin.

So some shit has gone down y’all.

I wrote most of a rant on my phone after a woman tried to give me some bullshit fashion advice. I posted it on Medium because I say a few bad words and I wasn’t sure where to pitch it.

Check it out here.

I posted it on facebook and a few other places as is my habit, forgot about it and went on to work on some other shit.

Then THIS MOTHER FUCKING HAPPENED OVER THE WEEKEND:

In the top 20 most recommended on Medium. Holy...shit.

In the top 20 most recommended on Medium. Holy…shit.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT TOP 20. A lot of people have read it. A lot of people have expressed thanks and gratitude and appreciation and shit.

And I had a panic attack.

I should confess that on the rare occasion I write something that garners a whole lot of positive feedback from people I don’t know, I freak out. I did not have a complete meltdown. I am feeling overwhelmed and super anxious. Growing pains but I did declare to my best friend that I didn’t throw up nor did I get the shits so semi win?

I have been listening to the Feelin Myself track from the Nicki Minaj Pink Print album a lot. Gotta cheer myself on you know.

So the next thing to happen was that I pitched for the first time. Like an adult. And it got accepted. Over at Witty Bitches (a new and rad site) I wrote a piece about race and feminism. Not for free and It feels pretty damn good. Lookit here:

This is a battle cry.

For my fellow nerds, this is me calling the horde.

These people, who wouldn’t know intersectional feminism if it farted in their faces, are ruining it for all of us.

As I saw on a t-shirt, they look like just enough XP for us to level up.

Read it here. 

That piece also began on my phone as a rant started on Oscar night.

So things are going very nicely right now.

I’m also getting back into the swing of submitting fiction and navigating it without Duotrope. It is interesting. So far I have two pieces out and will probably send around a couple more.

I put up a new Queen poem at Ink Node.

I’m trying not to freak out further. Anxiety is a mother fucker. I’m not here for it frankly.

All that said I have more new stuff in my pocket.

That’s all for now. I’m going to go try and adult writer without freaking out or otherwise having a meltdown.

 

 


On that Grind.

Okay.

Seriously I am on that grind this week. I’ve been writing like hell.

I’m trying really hard to figure out how to balance all the things I want to do and make a little bit of cash in the process.

Shit is fuckin hard y’all.

In other news I am plowing my way through a superb reading list. I’ll have some new reviews up soon.

Um whoa so this happened. Aside from being in excellent company it really touches me that my sort of off the cuff I want to write something today post made sense.

Over the years I’ve come from skipping meals to buy Poets & Writers or to buy “good” quality typing paper and renting time on ancient PCs at Kinko’s and shit to sometimes making a little money, learning how to unsubscribe from the fancy monied author mythos.

I have had to do a lot of stuff that has been hard. Figuring out how to balance my ethics with my need to eat. For instance when I opened my etsy store I had a rash of weird White dudes wanting 3$ Cuckold interracial porn. I’m talking dudes wanting like 10K words with these shortass turnarounds.

Once upon a time I would have done it. Enough 3 buck porns could someday buy me lunch or shoes.

I had to sit with it and do what other authors I’ve seen do. I had to set some rules and after a lot of self flagellation (How DARE YOU turn down actual income) and struggle I did this:

If you are looking for custom erotica here are the rules.

1.) My rate is firm at 25$ a page. This includes a first draft, final edit. Put together with a plain cover and available as a pdf/doc/docx file.
2.) I am not heterosexual. I will write hetero but it is not my forte.
3.) Do NOT send/offer to send me photos of your genitals I will ban you.
4.) No, I will not barter.
5.) No incest, underage, bestiality will be considered.
6.) If I am not into the idea I will not take the commission.
7.) If you want a sample of my work, buy one.

Currently I am not looking for/accepting custom work. When I am I will post a special listing.

Honestly y’all. Do you now how hard that was for me to do? To really put down in words that I will not suffer foolishness and that my porn is worth professional rates?

That started me on a path to wanting to Free myself with freelance work. I started grinding out research and things and realized that some parts of a freelance career are just not things I do well. Aside from that, I just don’t want to write for some pulications who would probably take me.

Pump the mother fuckin breaks.

I honestly had weeks of arguing with myself about it because as we know, there is a lot of pressure for especially WOC to go be in ALL the things and break through the whiteness of certain markets and everything.

I have been just, fighting with my desire to earn that money and those thoughts. The what right do have to not want those opportunities?

What kind of nerve do I have when I need money for shit like shoes and underwear, to not want to take the full leap?

WHO THE FUCK IS YOU.

And then I keep thinking about things my publisher Milcah has said to me. I keep thinking about what we’re doing with the book at Self Care Like A Boss. I think about what my best friend has been saying for almost 20 years. About when my partner is just like YES DO THAT SHIT.

I think about the authors I love the most and how many of them joke about low book sales and write shit that moves me.

I am the writer who write really fucking terrible copy for really fucking terrible heteronormative sex toy anon/affiliate websites because I wanted to save up for shoes.

I am also the writer who has turned down some amazing opportunities because they would make me feel bad in my heart.

I am book pregnant with the best book baby daddy Milcah. 

Way back when I was about 14 and dreaming about being an infamous writer, I dreamed about a life of liesure paid for by literary patrons.

I thought that was how I wanted it.

Looking back I realize that I would not be a bad ass writer right now without the struggle. If I had no struggle, if I didn’t have to write out all these fuckin feelings, if I hadn’t spent SO much time poring over literary magazines I couldn’t afford and low er high key learning how to absorb everything I need from as many sources as I can find that are free.

I would not cherish the lessons I learn from the books I buy.

If I wasn’t struggling with shit a lot, I don’t honestly think I would be so comfortable with how I am figuring out what my work is worth and who I want to work with.

One thing that goes through my bones is that easy doesn’t teach me well. It never has. If I didn’t have to work shit out I would not work it out.

I am on that grind.

I AM ON THAT MOTHER FUCKING GRIND and unlike when I was a baby writer, I value it. I love it. I am here for it.

Being ass deep in the struggle means I have found the path to my people. And I love my people. My people love me.

And that is pretty valuable.

OH okay a few more things.

I put up a story that is so close to my heart I can’t even. It is a slipstream story involving a wee Haitian girl and Hati and his brother. There is magic, the beginning of my need to explore how cultures can intersect, collide combine and exist together without throwing the brown folks under the bus. It is a bit more expensive than other stuff because of the sheer amount of work it took for me to get it done.

Here is a big ole taste:

“Mama was hurt, Papa was dead. She gave me water in a bottle and papers in my bag. Then she told me to run. She said I was too small and that they would hurt me. She said, Bernadette, you run you hide girl. Hide, hide hide.”

She trailed off, the counselor waited her out.

“I ran. Like a woof-”

The counselor arched an eyebrow.

“A woof? You mean a dog?”

Bernie glowered at her.

“No, woof, you know woof they howl like this at the moon.”

Bernie tipped her head back and let out a full throated mournful howl.

“Ah, wolf.”

“That is what I say. And then I found a place under concrete it was dry.”

[redacted, go buy for more]

“Ayti.”

It was a drawing from a Norse myth, the librarian smiled at her and nodded.

“Would you like to read about Hati?”

Bernie nodded, her eyes lit up.

In her heart, she chanted to the Universe, Ayti, Ayti Ayti. In her heart Bernie was mourning Haiti, the way her Maternal Grandmother had taught her. To think and feel the name of a thing or a person so as not to forget. She could not bring herself to sing the names of her parents, that hurt too much. But, when she spoke Ayti, Ayti, Ayti in the secret voice of her heart, it sufficed.

Next week I will get into how this story came about, that it was inspired by Roxane Gay and a woman I met on the bus.

Okay this  is way too long I need to calm all the way down and go do some editing.

Get Bernie’s Warg here. 

OH also per usual this is not kid or ya lit. This is grown folks business.


Writing bucket list 2015

Some shit I want to accomplish this year.

  • Get paid more. I want to gently step up my freelancing. While making sure I don’t get down on myself because I’m not a journalist.
  • Maybe get paid for some fiction.
  • Add a bit more to my etsy store.
  • Finish Self Care Like A Boss with a big ass bang.
  • Get back into writing about bodies and get paid for said writing.
  • Just get fuckin paid.

I am working on figuring out what kind of freelancing I can handle. I’ve discovered I’m not great at newsy current events type stuff. Unless it is something that comes out in a big ole pain porn flood and I can’t emotionally deal with doing that all the time. Especially if I know I probably won’t get paid.

That being what it is, I need to further work out my pitching terror. I have very little confidence about that type of writing and I need to get to a better place with it. Which is to say, I just need to fuckin do it.

I have ideas and notes for stuff that isn’t so rip my heart out but the idea of pitching them puckers my asshole.

I really want to ease into some changes. I want to back myself while I’m doing some new kinds of writing.

SO yeah.

Shit is changing and I’m working it out.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,216 other followers

%d bloggers like this: