Be That Shit: My Hustleverse

*This appeared in a longer version at Patreon*

Let’s talk about how my writing hustle breaks down by readership, interest and earnings.

First a snapshot of my follow counts across various platforms.

WordPress as of the end of 2017:

631 followers.

7769 Views

143 likes

23 comments.

My most read post was my where to read my work post. https://shannonsdreams.wordpress.com/where-to-read-my-work/

At Medium:

1.1K followers.

At the end of December, I had a total of, 498 reads views, 248 full reads (on Medium views means someone clicked reads mean they spent time and read the thing).

In general, my Medium nonfiction pieces get about a 20-30% read. My fiction or fiction related work on Medium is lucky to get 1-3 reads a month and zero interaction.

So being that I’ve used those the most in 2017 let’s talk about what it has shown me.

In trying to work out how to make my artistic life more sustainable, what to do with my Self Care Like a Boss concept and work and trying to yanno live, I’ve been keeping steady track of what works where, who reads what etc.

Now I am not fishing for compliments here so please don’t, this is what the data has shown me and reinforced over the years.

When I collect up the hard stats on what happens when I do stuff, a lot of the time it doesn’t look good. My fiction and Self-care stuff does terribly across all platforms. My poetry on occasion performs well at Ink Node. Overwhelmingly, when I publish or post work myself, the support of folks who have often asked for said work is nil. No retweets, no shares, no clicks, no reads.

I’ve tried a long list of methodologies and there’s the usual FB fuckery in terms of what shows up when but, there is legit a circle of about 20 or so people who click, read and/or share. The same group for years now and who have mainly been the ones to keep me from ragequitting.

The thing I spent most of 2017 trying to make sense of is this.

If a large number of folks tell me, HEY PLS YOUR WORK PLS MORE!! Or are gassing me up in public but, the actuality of numbers shows me the opposite, what do I do?

This has extended a bit to Patreon. When I was polling prospective Patrons or trying to rather, nobody really answered except to literally on my survey tell me to stop begging. The thing that was really fucking me up for a while was this huge discrepancy in what has been asked of me as a creator and what has been given to me.

For a lot of 2017, this discrepancy left me feeling both used and unseen. This doesn’t even touch the free labor I’ve been asked for in terms of things like FB arguments, random dm’s from white folks demanding I teach them how not to be so racist etc. This feeling comes from my own community at large.

I had to learn to accept a few things.

First thing is that this is a real thing. Years of analytics from way back when I was a semi-popular fat blogger and got a book deal dangled in front of me to the occasional agent related hey I like your work –but- notes from social media etc to these days when I’m sort of methodically shotgunning what I do with work I don’t necessarily believe will sell that, I’m just not gonna be the one if I put it out myself.

After feeling shitty about it, let down and just uh, wrong as in the wrong sort of Black person I decided fuck it. However, as fuck it as I feel sometimes, it still gets me down.

I think for the work I in particular do, this is just going to be a thing.

I’ve accepted that in this particular timeline, my most idealized dreams about what I do with my writing will likely not wind up being sustainable. The biggest component I need for that to happen just is not there for me at all. At least not on the level I need in order to be both sustainable and be able to spend the time, spoons and money on stuff.

So here in 2018 I’m spreading my hustle a bit.

The big thing is I decided not to go ahead with my plans for Self-Care Like a Boss. The main reason is that the level of work it would take for me to get it all the way I want it, and the cost of hosting and paying folks for guest blog posts (another thing we’ll get to why I don’t do so much anymore) was just too much for me to foot the bill.

That decision took months of crying, writing, cryng some more and a lot of bitterness because when I started publishing and talking about self-care, well people went fucking in on me. My first self-care book sold a good number of copies, I still have folks who talk to me about it. The second version wasn’t my best work and I failed at it and thus the book didn’t go well.

That said, when I got the blog going and other things and I wasn’t asking for money the support I was counting on, that I was told from various sources was just not there. Not for merch I designed, not for me presenting that work as an independent creator. Real talk, it was devastating and really made my vision for SCLAB (and the domain I bought) just unfeasible. It was a hard decision but, I had to make it.

Beyond the feasibility, the thing is this. I’ve had to not only acknowledge but embrace the fact that I do not possess the spoons to produce work on the scale that I used to. I have had to really take in and live with this. I may want to provide my community with ALL OF THE GOODNESS I have. But I can’t do that without support. Well let me put it this way, support that doesn’t evaporate when I ask for something.

In terms of production, I’m still doing okay. I write a LOT of shit that never sees the light of day because it sucks. As I mentioned in my blog, I have a roster/short list of editors I’m comfortable with and will be doing some more freelance work this year. I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to pitch/sell and what I want to put out myself.

Some of that work is going to be Old Queer Yelling at Clouds and I’ve accepted that. Some of it may earn me some coins behind the paywall at Medium and any coins are good coins. I am gonna write what the fuck I want to write regardless and I have to adjust my expectations of what that looks like for me.

This is where I want to talk very specifically about y’all.

 

[redacted Patron only section]

As bad as I want to be the high dollar mega super star, I want to write what the fuck I want to write.

I’m learning to work with my output. What’s amazing to me is that unlike in years past, my fiction writing is much slower and more deliberate. Less in the planning way and more in the, I have a goal with a story and am thinking carefully about how to get there way. My non-fiction is kinda flowing far easier. I’ve got subjects on deck to tackle that I’ve been afraid to previously.

2018 I am setting myself free artistically speaking.

I’m going to work the fuck out of my Weird Voice. I’m gonna write and make some ugly shit, some of it will shiny up nicely other stuff well….some stuff just gets put away.

I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to try out creatively and I’m going to because yanno, life is too goddamn short for me to be torturing myself because I fail at being a “successful” artist.

That’s how it is going down.

 

HOLY SHIT 2018

Well here we are.

Holy shitballs we made it.

Please pat yourselves on the back.

Now, what is in store for me this year?

First up some ch-cha-changes.

  1. I will be reading fewer physical books because we are moving into a tiny apartment and I already have been culling books for months.
  2. I’m expanding my offerings at Patreon. Now not only is there a letter, the Daiyuverse and whatnots but, I’m also going to be posting early access craft stuff. Like this entry but with WIPs and other extras. There is more but I’m not ready yet.
  3. MORE SHIT. With my commute being cut by about 2.5 hours a day I’m looking forward to being able to do more creative work.

Other stuff is a surprise.

So how about some 2017 numbers?

Submissions. I did not submit much. First up places I was rejected from, ghosted on or not responded to. There are more I forgot to put on my spreadsheet:

  • Argot Magazine
  • Submittable blog
  • Okey Panky
  • Literary Hub
  • Electric Literature
  • Buzzfeed

Acceptances:

  • Wear Your Voice Magazine (my first listicle and first submission of 2017) This made a lot of people very angry. It was reprinted a few times, also made people very angry.
  • ROAR  A poetry review that got hella personal.
  • Wear Your Voice Magazine II. Funnily enough, it made a few people angry but not as many.
  • Ravishly. My first very in depth look at my personal woo in the context of the whiteness of witchy things.
  • Unchaste Anthology II.  Wee poems for a beautiful little thing.
  • The Wanderer. Some much rejected poems found a home here.

My most rejected stuff was the poems in The Wanderer. Most of the rejections were form, one said that they didn’t publish confessional poetry (that place does but that is a privilege reserved for White women).

My JT Leroy essay behind the paywall at Medium was form rejected four times according to my email. However, it is doing fairly well by itself there.

What else happened in my lit life?

I didn’t publish as much about race as I have in years past but, 2017 was the year of White folks completely raging out about my work. Some gems. This person literally commented on almost every comment on the first Wear Your Voice Article:

David Brooks · 

Sage Radachowsky christ your also not black. have you read the article? it more or less says white people have no say nor idea about what racism is. So you need to stop commenting as well. I am just helping out the author here and trying to get all you whities to understand your not allowed to comment.
Like · Reply · 2 · 30w
And another winner:

Christopher Crafton

Except that being called ‘white’ IS stereotyping.
There is ZERO genetic basis for lumping pale skinned people into a monolithic category. None.
Not genetically, nor culturally.
Don’t believe me? Try walking up to a Israeli in Jeruselum and telling him he’s the same as a Palestenian because they are both white. See how long it takes to get knocked on your ass.
Like · Reply · 18 · 30w · Edited
I recall a few comments also calling me personally cancer, racist, cunt etc. One of the reprints was in a local magazine and after reading some comments from local people, I was glad they didn’t include my photo. I was “told” things like:
  • I should give the author some real problems.
  • Shannon is rude.
  • This is anti-white propaganda.

2017 was also the year that specifically my work in various spaces to deal with Whiteness got me doxxed with some other folks.

I spent a lot of this year screening racist filth out of my inboxes, I blocked some here, I had to hear about it from friends and frankly, it really fucked up a lot of my year. I clocked in threats that covered everything from you’ll never get published in X magazines, to I’ll rape you, to I’ll teach you a lesson bitch to we’re going to tell everyone in the industry what a racist you are.

I landed a few FB bans. One for having the phrase White people in a status and two other times for saying men are trash.

After all that stress and dealing with my partner being really ill, bills and shit you know what?

I’m still fucking here.

The threats, name calling, doxxing, having my posts on FB reported, etc. Yes they slowed me down during the latter half of 2017 because I had to make some hard decisions about my work.

And you know what?

I hit fuck it.

2017 really cemented for me the fact that, there is not a lot I can say without somebody calling me a racist. Set boundaries for White people? Racist. Talk about Whiteness as a cultural construct that is hell bent on fucking up shit for everybody? I AM THE REAL RACIST.

And you know what? I can only assume that my work is hitting the right nerve. Change hurts. Learning hurts a lot.

Fuck it.

I also learned that sometimes I reach out into the blue nowhere that is the internet, and I touch folks. When I hear that my newsletter/loveletter thing made someone feel good. Or when someone says to me, I read this and was pissed and then I realized I needed to see this it is fuckin great.

I learned that wading through the people who devalue my work for whatever reason, and through the people whom I make so uncomfortable they are willing to try and take food off of my table and fuck up my life in general- I can get through it.

I can get through and still do what the fuck I am meant to do.

Because fuck those people.

For every Pepe avatar having shitfuck to the “reasonable” White feminists who are actively working to silence me- fuck em.

I have shit to do and art to make.

I have a life to live and ain’t nobody got time for that.

What else?

Later this month the little beautiful poetry book I wrote is coming out. These fuckass people almost ruined what is a dream for me.

gasolineheart
[image description: a square image with round purple sequins, yellow text overlay says: Gasoline Heart Shannon Barber]
I FUCKING MADE THAT.

I am so proud of it and have so many things to say.

You can have that later on. Pre-order for shipping in a few weeks here.

So really, 2017 was a lot of painful lessons. A lot of realizations about myself, my work and where I fit in the world.

And a lot of great support. Beautiful friends. Amazing writers. Great books and stuff.

I hope 2018 brings me some new stuff. New adventures. Big Swing pitches and submissions.

That’s all.

As I like to say:

WELCOME TO THE PIT MOTHER FUCKERS!!

Writer Financials- The Medium Experiment

Y’all ready?

Let’s talk some spare coins, Medium etc.

A while back I closed my merch and Etsy shops due to both being epic failures.

How epic?

Etsy I broke even in a year by about .20 cents.

At the time of close, in close to two years on Etsy while following marketing guides etc and offering a lot for a reasonable amount (low even) I only sold a few stories priced between 1-5$.

I never sold a thing in my merch store in two years.

The problem was not just a lack of profitability but frankly, when folks asked for my links and then bought nothing and didn’t share them I got fed up seeing all zeros so I closed the shit.

I still need slow money side hustles and got the email that Medium was opening up for writers to put stuff behind a paywall.

So in November I had 1,274 views, 510 reads and 27 new fans.

My Self Care Like a Boss material flopped like whoa and I’ll probably not put more of that there.

My Dear Sir/s piece where I talk about dicks a lot performed a hell of a lot better.

I have a few hundred claps on the Dear Sir/s piece that I literally wrote on the bus one night. For November I stand to make 22$ give or take a bit.

Not bad for a low investment of time on my part.

Not optimal but yanno.

For me Medium will likely only ever be slow/low cash. I don’t tend to have whatever it is that brings out the claps and therefore the cash.

In terms of writing hustle, given the doxxing situation and my own lack of spoons I haven’t been able to freelance a whole lot. Most of my output has been focused on Patreon and saving all my pennies to move my partner and I.

So really, after a little over a month Medium is worth the time for me. It has worked out better than several suggestions because I’m not spending time sourcing/taking photos etc or trying to jam my content into a place where there just isn’t a space for it and y’all know I don’t usually just write bullshit.

What next?

I don’t know.

I have my writing classes almost ready to roll out but I’m hesitant to release them. I’ve worked so hard on them and seeing them not do well because reasons would really be devastating for me. I mean, real talk. For me, the worst writing/art hustle thing has been a complete lack of follow up interest in shit I do.

I dunno y’all.

I guess the thing is that I don’t mind taking the L in terms of radio silence on pitches, rejections, etc. But this, I dunno.

I also feel like being that there have recently been people intent on fucking up my life, I don’t want them, to fuck up my special thing.

Take away?

I’ve got some pitches out. I’ve got some more things to post up at Medium. I’m hustling.

My writing classes? Yeah y’all I dunno. I need to figure out how to offer them without damaging my heart.

I was hesitant to talk about this more. I am already a vulnerable person and y’all know that’s kinda my thing. I’m gonna show you my dirty little bleeding heart. And I know I could be endangering myself and my future endevours by talking but well, I can’t not be who I am forever you know?

But y’all know me.

There you have it.

I’m calling Medium a win because the 22$ will keep me in coffee for the month.

I think that’s all for now.

It is giving Tuesday, feel free to check out my stuff in the sidebar there, feel free to throw some tips in my general direction.

News Updates and Thingies.

First up some news.

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE.

Lesson 1 for my Be That Shit University Writing classes is on track for release by Dec. 1. Get ready y’all.

If you want the inside scoop, come subscribe to my newsletter. And you’ll get to read some loveletters to my fellow creatives hearts and butts.

Second thing. I’ve decided that I will be reprinting my original Self Care book via Medium behind the paywall. That being what it is, I may also offer some of it for download for a tip/small amount per say 2-5 thousand words. If you have the need for it, I’ll work out a way to make it available. Right now, I can’t afford to offer it for free because capitalism ruins everything.

The rewrite of Cycle 1 of of the Daiyuverse is going well. I’m thinking I will be able to release the ebook on Amazon in January. I’m hoping to save enough/make enough extra cash to buy a very nice cover for it as well.

What else?

Gosh y’all. I’m tucked in and grinding. Writing like hell.

On the cash front, I’m still floundering from my whole lil family being so fucking sick, meds, transportation, er visits etc. So if you are inclined:

I’m in immediate need of raising about 150$ to cover some extra expenses this month.I also need some self care items I’m out of.

You can also donate at:

https://www.paypal.me/WordsnThings

https://cash.me/$weebeasty

https://venmo.com/i/Shannon-Barber-5

And I think that’s all. I’ve got work to do. Stay tuned for new shit.

Nanowrimo, Writing and stuff.

Hello adventurers!

I see some of y’all are about that Nanowrimo life and I say, Go FORTH AND DO ALL THE THINGS! WRITE THAT SHIT!

My personally philosophy about Nanowrimo is that you can use it however you need it. The first few times I did it, around 2011 I mostly needed to figure out how could write something longer than say 3k words. I knew I could write but that much? Yes I could. I found that while my little novellas were the hottest of shitty messes, I learned a lot about myself as a writer.

Also, having that sort of small (for me, i was VERY shy even on the internet back then. I KNOW WEIRD RIGHT) community of people who liked to cheer me on and encourage me to just write that shit was invaluable to me. I learned what it was like to have someone say yes, YES YOU DO THAT SHIT who wasn’t already a friend.

The other things I found doing Nanowrimo is that while no, I was not one of those fabled folks to get book deals and shit. I did start finding out how could/do write fantasy. How I want to present certain things. The Daiyuverse was born during Nanowrimo. I wasn’t cutting teeth the way I was cutting teeth in literary fiction at the time.

I was devouring words and methodology and while I was devouring I was playing. I was doing like this here:

That was how my nerdy little soul was getting down. Wild. At the time, I felt that the only way to be a “real author” was through very specific channels. I believed in the idea that if I ground it out in short fiction, someone who expressed interest in my work who was also in a position of power would publish it and BOOM REAL GROWED UP WRITER.

For me, this view was part of my angst over not having much of a formal education. I was trapped in this shame bubble and it was hobbling me creatively. I had such grand dreams of not only being a literary mega super star AND a horror queen AND a memorist AND  AND AND.

What clicked for me in my nano adventures was this.

All I have to do is write. I am a writer. And that’s fine. Not only fine, it is fucking amazing.

I heavily credit doing nanowrimo for years with setting me free in a way I was not able to find elsewhere.

I know a lot of people poop on the idea of just churning out words. It is kind of counter intuitive.

That said, if you really want to just run with something, nanowrimo is a great chance. I believe fully in the art of Writing Like A Mother Fucker and if you don’t know how, now is a great time.

Now this year I’m not doing nano proper. I’m actually making it my goal to have rewrites on Cycle 1 of the Daiyuverse done and in December have the ebook available for purchase. That is my goal for the month alongside getting out this chunk of cycle 2 to my patrons.

Also on a personal note. So, I’ve been/am being doxxed. I don’t have much to say about it aside from it has really bummed me out. Naturally that’s putting it lightly but I mean, it’s not the first time. Probably won’t be the last. So I’m dealing with it.

I dunno.

On one hand it makes me hesitant to really get some of my side hustles started but also eager to do them.

That said.

Ahem.

Here is what we’re looking at. Some original Be That Shit University Writing 101. The class I’m designing can be applied to any type of writing and focuses on doing that shit. I have some methodologies both digital and analog, some poking and stuff.

My market isn’t really people who already know how to write. Y’all I will get to. I’m looking at helping folks see and let loose their writing. This can be for fun, as an addition to an in place creative practice. Maybe you just wanna find out. The prices will be accessible and I might be open to offering select discounts.

I got you boo.

No bullshit. No intense literaryness.

Just you and me, talking like this. Available at your liesure via  a downloaded kit. You’ll get a couple of flash pieces, some poems and I’ll even include an unedited free write along with suggestions of how to write like a mother fucker, some timed exercises.

Consider this, if you like an intro to writing some shit. No pressure. No promises. Just no bullshit information.

I’m still getting my materials together, but I decided fuck it. I can’t do video right now, I still really enjoy teaching and talking about writing. I have wanted to do this forever. Boom here we are.

And the only real reason I have the um thangs to do this is because I know so many wonderful talented humans. Like best selling writers, writers who’ve never published a thing, artists, poets, SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE.

And the women and femmes in my life.

I know women and femmes in my life who hustle so hard and so beautifully it just, y’all it makes me want to sit down and cry for joy. My community is pretty fucking great.

SO my darlings.

To keep up on when I release my classes and to get artsy fartsy opinions and musings come sign up for my newsletter. 

Updates, My Artistic Process and shit.

OKAY HI.

Yes I’m hollering.

I am finally sort of not so sick anymore. I’m almost done with my antibiotics-

and as an aside, y’all. I did not know that being on a very strong antibiotic would not only wreck my bhole but also just wreck my whole being. The medical evidence about antibiotics causing mood swings etc seems to be 50/50 but for me that shit was super real and triggered a few major anxiety spirals. It has been a lot.

I’m mainly on the mend and back to work in earnest.

SO let’s talk about something that happened and was amazing.

A while back, maybe two months or so over on my FB page, I cursed a certain orange fuckbucket in chief to public pants shitting. After some private uh, discomfort on the part of some fellow witchy types I wrote this essay. I wasn’t sure what to do with it and a friend sent me a call for work and then this happened. The best thing about having this piece bought was that the day after it published, I’ve seen an outpouring of feelings from other POC witches and have heard how what I said resonated with other people.

And I made some coin.

That leads me to my next thing.

I’ve decided to post more work on Medium as subscriber to Medium only.

Basically, if folks read and clap I get a few coins. And because of the discovery nature of Medium, I feel like I have a little bit more of a chance to make some of those coins.

Ready for some real real?

In the decades of this point of my work, keeping it radical and accessible to people has been in my top five important shit to do with my work list forever. For years, a lot of the advice I’ve been given about trying to get the work not fit for mainstream publication or that I decide to handle myself out into the world is to ask my community for support.

If you’ve been here a while you know that anytime I ask for support whether it is monetary or whatever, I always ALWAYS say please share. Please boost. Please help me get eyes on the thing.

This has been what folks have advised me for so long and it is what I’ve done. I ask. I always ask. I ask here, twitter, tumblr, facebook. I literally have thousands of followers across all platforms and average maybe 1-5 shares per time I ask.

I offer a lot to the communities I belong to. Labor, I offer my work. This very blog there is an actual TON of legit writing advice. It is important to me.

I believe in community. I believe in being of service to the communities I belong to.

The problem is that, it is not a two way relationship at all. I feel like I don’t ask a lot. I’m not trying to make a living off of giving basic writing advice or selling y’all bullshit.

Pragmatic Potato Shannon says, look at that nobody gives a fuck stop.

Idealist Potato Shannon says, but LOOK at the resources folks still read.

Regular Potato Shannon is still poor and running an unsustainable creative thing.

Now, yes sometimes I get donations and tips. Yes I have that languishing gofundme, yes I have Patreon. Those have been lifesavers and helpful but, they aren’t the most sustainable.

IF you’ve been here a while you now I’ve talked about, posted surveys etc other things I could offer up at low cost. Writing classes meant to be accessible to everyone. Crickets. Sensitivity readings, crickets. Hey please boost this? Crickets.

Now this causes me a lot of cognitive dissonance because often, especially when I’m not posting something new, folks gas me up. Yes I appreciate compliments and someone saying how much they want to share me with the world.

Then too often when I ask, it is the same few people who do share shit and it feels like shit and I am still broke.

After talking to some other POC about this, a few things are clear.

  • My solution sucks and means I have compromised something important to me.
  • My solution(s) don’t make me -that- much money.
  • Capitalism sucks
  • Black Femmes have a hard time getting funded/supported.

So what am I doing?

A lot of the free content I’d normally post here or on Medium, I’m posting at Medium but for premium members. It is not a whole lot of coin but let me break a thing down.

As of today a piece I put up less than a week ago has made almost 2$. That is 2$ more than my etsy store (where I had a grand total of about 25k words available to buy all in for less than 15$) made in a year, it is 2$ more than my merch store made after folks asked me to do merch. It is more in a week than my gofundme raised weekly.

Ahem.

Real talk, the idea that if your community values you, ask and ye shall receive doesn’t work for all of us. It just doesn’t. Not just in my personal experience but in the circle of folks I talk to regularly we are often passing around the same ten bucks to each other because ain’t nobody else doing shit.

And right this moment, I’m also dealing with a whole other level of white nonsense and I’m sure this entry will serve them with fuel. You, y’all know who you are. Fuck you for deliberately trying to take food off of my table.

Anyway.

I may move some other projects to medium for the slow but steady trickle of income.

And I’m pretty spent. More later I’m gonna nerd on you about world building within an existing world.

Writer Financials and other updates

My (currently 2nd most shared/reprinted article to date) piece giving White folks some boundaries about how they interact with POC on the internet got reprinted again. Check it out here. As expected, I’ve been called a racist, rude, crude, divisive and the ever so common claim that I hate White people or that my work is why somebody just won’t try to not be racist anymore.

I also posted up a freebie Patreon update which you can find here.

I have an October/witchy themed piece coming out in a new to me publication next month that I’m pretty hype about.

So let’s talk some stats.

Freelance shit:

  1. Four pitches sent.
  2. One acceptance.
  3. One rejection.
  4. One no response.

Literary shit:

  1. Two submissions sent.
  2. One acceptance.
  3. One still in process.
  4. Acceptance for a small anthology, a wee peom.
  5. In process, suite of poems.

Not bad given that I’ve been sick for almost a full month, my partner is still pretty much incapacitated so I have to do all his household stuff too.

Other stuff. I have 255$ saved towards moving.

My poetry book is close to being born.

Being that I’m hustling to save up to move, I redid my personal budget which for our purposes is money made through writing. That means freelance and patreon and eventually possibly sensitivity readings.

October is a big bills month.

WP 100
CC 25
Ginger 6.4
Office 9.99

This is the short version of my budget. This is 100 over what I’d anticipated, I forgot that my personal blog renews this month. Whatever.

If most of my patrons go through, I will about deplete those funds for the most part which sucks and makes me angry but yanno.

What else?

I have this new thing coming out and the new to me editor had a really great response to the piece. My last um, three new to me editors have all be very enthused and into my work. One of my problems with freelancing is just how ramped up my anxiety gets. When I am freelancing because I’m broke, any failure or rejection or non response from publishers and I put a lot of pressure on myself.

I’m a terrible boss. And rationally I know that I can’t do the shit I’m good at in that state of mind but, I often feel like I’m too poor to be so against being exploited or having my voice fucked with.

I’m still trying to learn how to balance my need to hustle on the please just pay me level and continue to hold my personal integrity.

Shit is hard as fuck.

That said, I have some time next week and will be writing like a mother fucker. I’m selling important to me work that is me unfiltered. I’ve been very very blessed to work with editors recently who have been supportive and really believed in my voice enough not to ask me to tone my shit down.

So that’s that.

Posting will likely remain light while I’m grinding. Y’all know.

 

Real Results- When Folks Show Up Edition.

HI y’all. I really wanted to update/talk about what happened after my last post talking about how much help I need.

I want to tell y’all what happens when you give immediate support to someone like me.

First thing that happened:

  • I was able to redo my budget.
  • Bought 150$ worth of pantry items/food to be delivered tomorrow.
  • Got partner some new drawers and socks.
  • Got both of us some new immune system stuff.
  • Got partner extra medication for pain management/gut problems.
  • Dropped some cash into my moving savings fund.
  • Donated a few bucks to a couple of other Black Femmes in need.
  • I have a bit of a firm plan/budget to supply myself with personal care items to last through Christmas.

Effects:

  • I slept without stress/anxiety induced night terrors for the first time in three weeks.
  • I bought myself some chapstick.
  • I was able to poop (after being stress induced constipated for days)

What else?

I was able to calm down enough to get some writing done.

The most important thing is this.

When I see folks wringing their hands about oh what do I do, this is what you do.

For folks like me, material, concrete and yes financial support means we can make our art, do the shit we need to and survive.

Most of us who ask, hate it. Every day I have a few friends I talk to about it because we hate it. We cry and worry about how we are perceived. We have folks, even folks who love us disrespect us and our work because if we “just worked harder” or whatever, of course we’d be fine right?

We go through a lot. We often see folks post/contribute to shit like, help some white guy make potato salad, folks make thousands in days and we’re literally begging for meal money and then worried that after a while of promoting the stuff we sell that no one buys (as we’re always told to do) and posting our fundraisers and paypals and venmos nobody will pay attention and what will we do?

Real talk?

In my wide circle of Black femmes in particular, many of whom don’t know each other. Almost every day I see the effect of the way Black femmes don’t get funding grind down the resolve of even the hardest hustlers I know. I see fb statuses and there are private mesages and we’re all crying and all of us are feeling like maybe we’re not really worth shit.

THis is the raw truth. We can only hear how great and powerful we are so much. We can only provide so much education/things for a community at large that won’t throw us a bone. Don’t give a shit if we starve. Folks might not mean us to feel that way but that’s where so many of us end up.

It is why there’s a group of us I know and we literally pass 5$ around to each other whenever one of us sells something or whatever because nobody else will and that’s fucked up.

And yes we ALL know about the devestation around the world right now.

That said, this is what we always live with. For most of us right now we struggle to even get people to boost our links. I mean, why tell us how amazing we are if you can’t be bothered to share when we are in need?

That’s why I say, support living artists.

That’s why I say, tip often and tip well. You don’t have to have a lot of money.  Literally if half of the folks who read our work in general *for most of us* on blogs, medium or whatever each dropped us a dollar- lives changed.

But that’s not what happens and a lot of us, especially those of us who write a lot and pointedly about racism, gender, etc wind up feeling like shit, not being able to have sustainable art lives and whatnot.

I’m pretty sure this is not what I’m supposed to say but y’all know I gotta be real about shit and this is how it is.

Thank you for your support folks. It really does mean the world and for my little family in particular, that we survive.

State of The Artist and Their uh..things.

Hello friends.

A lil bit of news.

First of all, pardon my little hiatus. I had a family emergency, my partner got very ill. Two ER visits, he’s been incapacitated, I got sick. Then I got really fucking sick as in, face down ass up missed a fuckton of dayjob hours type sick.

Basically so far Sept has me like:

stares
[image description: a still from the film Pulp Fiction. Samuel L. Jackson staring. Text reads: STARES MUTHA FUCKER’LY]
Due to the illness in the household, we had to spend pretty much every dime we had saved for transportation, medications for both of us, pricier food than we usually get because I had to shop by myself. That laid us out financially and it’s going to be at least a month before we recover.

Unfortunately, I panicked and cut my entertainment budget out entirely (a whopping 15$) and put off reserving the laptop/tablet thing I want. I also sold an essay so it was kind of good and bad?

Can I be real with y’all?

As rough as things have been in the last few years, these last few weeks have wrecked me. Life for real pushed EVERY one of my fucking trauma buttons.

That said.

I’m working out some things.

My priorities right now are:

  • Keeping self and partner fed and with proper medications.
  • Saving a fuckton of money to move.

That is all my life is right now.

I’m thinking of going ahead and opening up for some sensitivity reading. Nothing long. Articles, essays. Come back to get full info next week.

I’m grinding at that freelance shit. Y’all. Let me tell you a quick story.

After a shitty day, I had a long FB chain where my witchy friends and I laid some curses like hell and it was so satisfying I wrote an essay that day and sold it to a new to me venue the day after. Y’all. Sometimes, just fling your stuff out into the universe. I’ll be talking more about that in my Loveletter later today.

I mention the grind because my fundraiser continues to go badly and it is demoralizing. Not only is it failing but, every time I post it places people get on their Y DON’T U WORK HARDER LAZY POOR ASSHOLE.

Rationally, I know that it is bullshit that I feel like I have to justify asking for help but I can’t really deal with trying to answer that shit individually so, here we are.

At this point y’all, it is so imperative that we be able to move I can only focus on that. If we don’t move, our health, mental and physical is going to deteriorate further and we cannot do that.

So I’m on the grind.

I currently have more pitches/subs out than I have in a couple of years. I’m pretty excited about it. I have done some big swing submissions and I ain’t stopping.

If you wanna help this post is still super accurate and as always, when I put out my rates for sensitivity readings etc share em. Know somebody with cash and a burning need to do something tangible? Help a living artist live. Except for Etsy the shop is closed.

SO there we go.

More later.

Some Business and Updates

Let’s consider this one of my writer financials updates.

Buckle up.

First a rule. None of what I say today is me digging for compliments or pity. I’m not just working off of feelings there is a LOT of data I’ve been studying.

I.

My Etsy shop is now closed. In 2017 it has cost me some money and I’ve not sold anything.

II.

I’m most likely not going to be offering indie stuff for sale for a while.

Stuff that is upcoming:

I’m going to be redsigning my professional author site and http://www.shannon-writes.net and my other domain (still under construction) will be pointed there.

I am deciding whether or not to offer limited sensitivity readings.

What else?

I currently have an unexpected 100$ bill to pay. Not having my little shops is both reassuring (no fees for Etsy, no stats worries about Teespring) and infuriating at the same time.

Sometime in the future I am considering offering other writing professional services that aren’t line editing. Being that my dayjob doesn’t look like I’m gonna get a cost of living increase anytime soon, I gotta rethink my hustles.

I am also still really into the idea of accessible (as in non jargony/non expensive) downloadable writing classes.

I don’t know.

I feel like *and my ride or die folks pls don’t take offense here* I need to find the mythical larger audience/folks who have money and would like to spend some.

Officially okay look y’all.

When I talk about my financials like this, it is not an invitation to send me lengthy messages across various platforms about how, if only I’d kept my shit open another week or so you’d do whatever.

Really, just don’t blow smoke up my ass about it. I’m not completely mad about the lack of material support cause, I know how the world works especially for Black Femmes like myself. We tend to have a harder time with funding and that’s to be expected. What makes me rage out, is the words of support or when I ask for help promise it and when I actually need it, crickets.

Please just don’t. For me it’s worse than not being able to fund my fundraisers etc.

I feel like I HAVE to say this all the time but, it takes two seconds to share a link somewhere. Where? Doesn’t matter. Don’t tell me you’re about it and then wah wah, you’re not.

Don’t piss on my feet and tell me it’s raining,

So that’s the status of things. I’m already working on my new site and she pretty as fuck. I’m in the process of deciding if I want to do the services thing or speaking or whatever.

This brought to you by the rant below I had last week just before my lil vacation. Stay tuned for more news homies.