A Few Thoughts on Output

This morning I realized that I have now typed about 100K words or so on my little purple computer (I named her Dinky) and I wanted to talk a bit about output.

On average for every 2k words I produce, the world sees maybe half. That includes blog posts, stuff for Patreon (though, Patreon folks get to see a LOT of naked me talking myself through a first draft), stories, essay drafts, stuff. Poems. A lot of things.

A lot of those things are in fact crap.

They are often things I reread and I’m like:

Me: WTF IS THIS SHIT?

Me: ??? Que?

Me: WAT THE FUCK IS YOU EVEN DOING RN?

Me: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯- I DUNNO. GO WITH IT.

Ahem.

Half of my brain is like, I DO WHAT I WANT FUQ U AND UR PLANS…LOLOLOLOLOL.

That used to be a hang up for me. I really wanted to be a hot take type. Kick down them think pieces and make mega dollars. At least mega dollars in my little world.

Well, nope. That’s just not how it goes here at Shannon HQ and management would appreciate me not freaking out about it ALL the goddamn time.

Y’all real talk, I write some fucking hot ass garbage. And I write a lot more slowly than I used to. And it’s fine.

I’ve learned to accept that yes my process changes and that means I miss out on a lot of shit. But, on the other hand what I produce is exactly what I want to produce so, it is all to the good.

So really what I’m saying like I always say in my loveletters, be cool to your Weird Voice.

Don’t fuck up your process when you don’t have to.

Once upon a time, I thought if I was writing a thing I had to do something with it. At some point I decided that hustling for cash outweighed my need to make art. This led to some decisions I don’t necessarily regret but that I wish I’d given myself more time to do.

I put a huge amount of pressure on myself not only to produce ALL THE WORDS but to have them polished and ready immediately.

Nah son.

I wanted it so bad, I often fucked it up.

So yes, a lot of my published shit isn’t as perfect as it could be but, that’s just writing and it’ll be okay.

Before I go, real quick OMGOMGOMGOGMGOMGOMGOMGOMGAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

My book is shipping today.

Go check it out.

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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.

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.

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.

I am an Impatient Student

One of the things I am discovering I’m terrible at is being my own student.

Over the years I’ve developed a particular style of learning in order to teach myself how to write about things I want to write about. For years, I blogged about a lot of personal shit and then I figured out how I like to write a personal essay.

I will read the fuck out of a type of thing, write hot garbage about the thing, rewrite, read more rinse repeat until I feel like I’ve learned about it enough to confidently write the thing the way I want to write it.

This has mostly worked out very well.

However, I am an impatient ass asshole. I have been taking notes. I have pages in my Pash Planner dedicated to my bucketlist of writing related shit. Most of my bucketlist writing shits are things I’m heavily interested in and also heavily invested in writing about them my way. I want to find ways to use my lil voice to talk about subjects/things I traditionally might think are over my head.

bucketlist
[image description: blurry image of planner pages with multi colored writing]
I am really excited but, I want to be done with the learning. I want to stop writing hot shit about these things and get to the good stuff.

It is very frustrating to me.

And I have to laugh a little, when I was a baby potato trying to learn stuff I was the same way. I’d have baby potato rage because okay good example.

When I was in the fifth grade, I tried to read Romeo and Juliet. I couldn’t and it made me so angry I studied Willy Shakes for a FULL year teaching myself the syntax, the vocabulary etc. I did it out of spite and then out of love.

I’m at the point where at least one of the bucketlist things has been tentatively begun. A memoir flavored story about how JT Leroy and that whole thing fucked me up, a bit of a reader memoir, a bit of me questioning why it is that POC especially Black folks are never allowed a certain flavor of confessional work without being expected to finish it out with a connection to the world/issue and some teaching.

I’ve started it five fucking times and I think this last start was probably the best one. I have to sit back and laugh a little. I always ask, WHY AM I LIKE THIS….

This is how ambition functions in me and how my human competition streak goes. I’m not fighting y’all. I’m not trying to outrun y’all. I want to satisfy myself. And I am the hardest person to deal with.

That said, I am enjoying how it’s going.

I think that’s all I have energy for right now. I’m fighting some intense nausea and just not barfing is pretty much taking all my energy.

Later taters.