Category Archives: writing life

The Writer In Distress.


The face I’ve been making for a week.

So I am a writer in distress.

Don’t worry finances or sort of okay and it’s mostly emotional.

I wound myself up so hard I gave myself the anxiety shits for days last week.

I am deep in rewrites for SCLAB and a noir story I was commissioned for.

I hate most words that I produce.

My current level of both metaphysical and physical agita is pretty huge.

So here I am about to make a list of my personal grievances, or I”m going to vomit feelings in list for to make myself feel better because I have fucking work to do. Please I’m actually okay. This is just how I process so I can work.

  • My writing is trash panda level.
  • Patreon continues to work my nerves.
  • I am finding it difficult to settle down and write things that are not trash.
  • Pretty sure everyone hates me.
  • Kind of hate myself.
  • Not enough hours that are not dayjob hours for me to write what I wanna write.

Let me stop with that last thing.

I am hugely ambitious. Having a computer at home again, hasn’t totally helped me fight the urge to write myself into the ground.

Here’s what happens.

Shannon the Fancy Pants Writer Man has goals. Said Fancy Pants Writer, Writes like the proverbial Mother Fucker, comes up with more things to write, is not able to keep up with self imposed production schedule, Fancy Pants Writer Man gets VERY FUCKING ANGRY AT FANCY PANTS WRITER MAN SHANNON who then gets the anxiety shits, feels terribly depressed and like the fakingest ass faker ever.

Add in that I am ass deep in SCLAB rewrites and I’m tussling with that hard. I have such high expectations for what I believe I can do with the material to make it Bigger, Better and More Fucking Awesome…I wind up really hating what I’ve done.

This is an area where I have always had a problem.

I have always put this huge amount of pressure on myself because I always believe I can do better. I am supposed to be able to write like a mother fucker and have it not be 105% garbage.

However, what I lack is the ability to cut myself slack on a regular basis.

Even as a wee baby I had this problem. I expect a lot out of myself in terms of what I believe I am capable of and I’m not always great about letting myself suck a little bit, or think I suck without turning punitive with myself.

This is a part of my writing process that I thought I had a firmer grasp on and as it turns out I don’t.

I’m in a place where I’m deeply frustrated with my inability to do for myself what I’m really good at doing for other people.

When it comes to other folks writing, I am encouraging, nurturing, cheerleading, supportive type. I might do this for other folks for monies someday, but for the few people I do it for, they always say it is the business.

When it comes to myself, my attitude is fuck you, fuck what you have to say, fuck that trash you’re trying to get someone to give you money for you fake mother fucker.

Y’all see where the problem is.

This is something I work on constantly. I cannot do the shit I want to do when I’m being an abusive asshole to myself about EVERYTHING under the sun.

Now, in all actuality some really amazing things are coming. I have my very first essay on my genders coming out with folks I love. I have new fiction coming out after the first of the year.


Milcah and I are guest editing the CNF portion of The Citron Review’s first Queer Issue. 

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I am so excited and honored to be doing it and…lemme keep it 100% right now I’m fucking terrified. I’ve never done anything like this and..yeah.

So please bear with me in the coming weeks.

I’m trying really hard not to come all the way the fuck undone and not be such a dick to myself.

What I need is to figure out HOW to do ALL of the shit I want to do without giving myself the anxiety shits.

That’s it for now.



On Risk and some other thoughts.

I was talking to another writer not long ago and the subject of risk came up.

This got me thinking about the risks I take to do this.

Like poor folks everywhere, every word I write that I don’t get paid for pains me in a special way. The time I spend writing, editing and trying to promote those things, could be time spent earning income some other way.

This is a mode of thinking I fight daily, or every time I need a new pair of pants or socks. I look back at things like my pieces at Medium, or the reprints/originals I put up at Etsy (I even have a coupon code right now PCMADNESS for 15% off your total order). And those do little for me in the way of income. And income is the thing that I tend to need the most.

While I’d love to breezily give my words away whenever I damn well please, it’s a risk for me. It doesn’t always but days like today when I realize how badly I need new glasses and I feel slightly guilty for buying stuff for my house- well the risk and the reward just don’t really add up together.

Before I started this entry I had to fight myself pretty hard not to go into a spiral of shame because my freelancer abilities aren’t up to whatever random ass standard I think they should be at today, part of this is also sparked by the loss of a bunch of work because of tech problems.

I know damn well that I’m not good at being a timely money making machine type writer.

I know that.

That said, I do get discouraged when I see folks banking on work that is very similar to my own in terms of content. And when I realize how much shit I need for my house, and I need new underwear and glasses it stings a bit more.

I’m struggling with not feeling good enough. If X person can write about the same stuff I do and make money at it, I must be shit at at it.

And please I’m not fishing for compliments here. I’m trying to keep it 100% as I keep promising.

So this is yet another risk.

I don’t want to be poverty, pain porn for anyone.

Yet, I do feel like  it’s probably valuable in some way to talk about this stuff shame and all.

This feels like a bigger risk than all my yelling about racism in literature, my ragey poetry where I name names, or anything else I holler about. Showing my tender underbelly and expressing my fears about money and art is fucking hard.

I think a lot of my difficulty is that while intellectually I can shout from the rooftops that my work, my voice, my labor is worth compensation.

Emotionally, I still grapple with this. Emotionally, I still don’t feel good enough. I still don’t feel confident enough to just say hey fuck you pay me.

Sometimes I am crippled by a wide ranging reeking jealousy that I can’t always shake.

Today isn’t that day, but I’m struggling today.

All that said, I have work to do.

I am going to pout about my data loss for another ten minutes, then get to work.

Including, later today a brand new love letter from me to you if you’d like to sign up for my official writer loveletters.

Get to Know the Writer.

The writer at work.

The writer at work.

In case you haven’t seen me before there I am.

How about a list of some random shit about yours truly?

  • My two favorite types of tea are genmaicha brewed extra strong and pu-erh.
  • My absolute favorite coffee in the ENTIRE fucking world is Death Wish.
  • I am extremely persnickety about what ink pens I use. I only write in purple ink and these are my favorite pens. Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pen, 0.7mm Fine Tip, Violet Ink. YES sorry amazon affiliate link.
  • My favorite Yankee Candle scent is Midsummer’s Night. I hardly ever buy it because it’s fuckin expensive but I love it.
  • I am an aging Goth. I am totally unashamed of this fact.
  • I have trashbag taste in TV but at the same time am extremely picky about what I watch.
  • I LOVE perfume oils. Generally indie. A gift of some BPAL started it all like 12 years ago. My favorite notes are: smoke, leather, tobacco, dark vanilla, honey, clove, cardamom, chocolate, roses, dirt, musk, dragons blood. I am so good at buying unsmelled that 99% of the time if a scent doesn’t work on my body, it works on my partner. My tastes tend to run to spicy/more masculine.
  • I can talk about things like makeup, skin care, body care, bath fancies, perfumes etc FOREVER.
  • I really love creepy things. Bones, teeth, taxidermied animal parts all as jewelry.
  • I am a compulsive reader. If I get desperate I read shampoo and body wash bottles while I poop.
  • I have an undying love of the original Castlevania (OG Nintendo) because it was the first video game I ever finished by myself.

There was an actual purpose to this.

I’m teaching myself to write more autobiographically without relying on issues. For me, it’s easier to write about how racism or sexism or whatever thing hits me personally and make it a lesson. I think those are my activist roots showing.

So I’m working on writing about who I am as a human and how I got to be this human.

Behold what some of us lovingly call The Stabby, or The Establishment. This is woman funded, woman founded media.

Holy fucking shit.

These are the folks I met with in person months ago and had my first writer/editors in person dinner meeting.

What I pitched to them at dinner was the piece I will link in a minute. I had been wanting to write about being a big nerd and some of my trials and tribulations in my life. Now, initially my notes for this were very rigid and I am a dork and nerd culture makes me upset type thing.


I decided to try something new.

I showed my tender little nerd underbelly and talked about who I am in real life. I talked about some crap that happened and getting through it.

You can read my piece here.

Y’all that was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written. I battled and sweated. I had to fight myself, like knock down drag out fight myself to not rescind my pitch and not to try so hard to be a Strong Black Woman Who Don’t NEed Nobody.

And you know what?

It went live during their launch week and people like it. I got messages from other Black nerds my age who experienced some of what I did. I got fist pumps. I had baby Black nerds telling me YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

That kind of freaked me out if I’m gonna be real about it. It was such a departure from my rage pieces where people are angry along with me.

I don’t know how to put it, but it just felt different and gave me some deep pause.

It feels alien (and yes, I know this is my anxiety and shit talking) that people like it because it’s me. Like the actual MeatWorld Shannon, who often flails and twitches and flaps and squeals.

That me.


Most of what I say here is me. Like pretty close to actually talking to me though, I am nicer on the internet. But it still feels weird that someone gave me money to write about how much of a potsie nerd I am.

Okay that’s all.


A Few Words on my Finances posts and whatnot.

I got a lengthy note from someone who “was a fan” and “was rooting” for me who has flounced from reading this Lil blog, and anything else I might write because they are uncomfortable with how I talk about some of the less shiny aspects of my writing and creative life.

Namely, my last finances post as well as my ongoing fundraiser to get to AWP16 drove them away. From what this reader said essentially the way I talk about the financial and other difficult things that impact my creative life made them feel guilty and bad.

So here’s the thing folks.

First thing is I am done putting up a front. On so many levels in my life. I spent a lot of years feeling shame for being human. There are a lot of things behind that, but the fact is, I just do not want to do that anymore. I’m too good at compartmentalizing things. I can smile and look pretty while I feel like I want to die, I am good at that. I am good at appearing to be A Strong Black Woman that don’t need nobody.

Fact is I’m not.

Because I have started to really invest in my own humanity through my work, how I live etc part of that is not gonna be pretty.

And I will not hide it or not write about it because it makes some folks uncomfortable.

That brings me to the second thing. When you know, either personally or as a voyeur watching things happen in blogland here, someone like me who leads a not shiny perfect life, you’re gonna be uncomfortable. There are lots of reasons why this can be, these are intersectional type things.

The third thing is that I am not opening up about these things to elicit sympathy or squeeze money out of folks. Yes, I am fundraising because I do need the help to attend something I feel is important to me. Yes, I take donations.  Yes, I do have conflicting feelings about these things because, like a lot of poor folks I have had trouble shedding the idea that I just don’t work hard enough to deserve stuff.

Part of how I work through this stuff is by being open about it and finding out that I’m not alone. Solidarity is like that. It is also pretty important to me that I can maybe impact someone who needs that solidarity.

Here’s the thing.

Knowing or watching a life that isn’t yours and that is wildly different from yours is valuable. For folks who are like me, me talking about this stuff is valuable.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable.

It’s fine if you don’t have/can’t/don’t want to give me money.

What’s not okay is trying to shame me because you are uncomfortable.

By the way person who sent the message I do see that you’re still subscribed. Pro tip: don’t send people passive aggressive notes threatening to unfollow and just GTFO.

Other thing before I go.

I am fully aware that my work and who I am as a person is not for everybody. I know. It’s fine. A lot of folks hate every word that comes out of my mouth and there is nothing I can really do about that beyond not speaking or writing or changing who I am and that ain’t happening.

It is fine not to dig me.

Not fine to bother me about it.

You, do you Booboo, Imma do me and everything is gonna be okay.

Now this week on Weds. I’m posting a new promo post so if you have things to promote, no matter what it is leave a link in the comments and you’re in. Boom. Have a friend with a thing? Show me the thing. Proud of a picture you took? Show me the thing.



Writer Financials

How about a wee update?

All in this year I’ve spent about 450$$ give or take on getting my tech updated, software etc in order for me to write properly.

I sold an essay to The Establishment and it was a huge first on a lot of levels for me. I also really need y’all to follow The Establishment because it’s ALL WOMAN FUCKING RUN and that is so amazing to me. Even if I wasn’t in it, I’d be into it.

Milcah and I put out SCLAB (and currently it is not available, look for the new version in 2016, follow us at the blog here) and that process has been eye opening, hard and weird. Ultimately very rewarding and I made a lil bit of coinage.

I’ve been doing readings, got paid for one.

I am still rocking with my Patreon.

AND last week I sat down to rearrange my finances.

SO officially with my Patreon right now (going by what I got in last month) this is how things are shaking out. I’m busting open my books, someone make me stop watching Bar Rescue.


71.26- Patreon- Incoming


=20 bucks not spoken for.

Now my current hosting is all taken care of until next year. I did wind up spending a bit more than I am normally comfortable with out of my writing money for an outfit for Litcrawl (I’ll post about that tomorrow), a few beauty items. But this is how my budget looks without any extra spending. I do sometimes spend 8-10$ a month on boxes of nice tea or fancy candy also celebratory Capone’s or whatever.

This is all money from Patreon/other writing stuff and I’m still really invested in not taking from the household budget for some things.

Looking forward I’m concentrating on a couple of things. Saving up for AWP is #1 and to that end I started a Gofundme.

I have a goal of raising 2K because with however much I save up that will just make the trip and everything WAY easier. I don’t feel great about it, but closed mouths don’t get fed.

I have a couple of side hustles that net me a few extra bucks a month in giftcards.

Now, aside from AWP I am saving up to do some stuff. I’ve recently started to believe in actually investing in my own work so here’s some stuff I’m working on budgeting out.

  • Grown up writer business cards.
  • Supplies for zine making.
  • Money set aside for short distance travel/more readings.
  • Budget for a new website venture.
  • Etsy shop fees.
  • New other venture.

Included in some of these are factors like:

  • Time off from the day job and wages/vacation hours lost.
  • How much time I need to work on a thing that is not writing a thing.

This is the hustle I’m on. Granted, my budget right now is a pretty tight ass. I’ve not budgeted for any self-care related stuff or beauty stuff. I haven’t cut into the budget for hobbies or books. This is pretty bare bones and that’s kind of okay with me. I’m really trying to avoid Poor Kid Panic and do what I know I can do.

In order to avoid Poor Kid Panic and feelings I’ve set some rules for myself.

  1. If looking into Freelance work starts causing panic stop.
  2. Not selling “well” (a WHOLE other post) is not reason for a shame/self hate spiral.
  3. Do not get angry at self for asking for help/support.
  4. Do not stress, self to the point of being unable to write.

So that’s what’s up. This is part of what it looks like to be me and how I operate.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of my side hustle things I have planned going.

What else?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how/where I submit because that decision has just gotten so much more difficult for me. I’ll talk about that at another time.

So there we go.

I’ll do another update maybe on towards Christmas when I’ve got some of my new hustles up and running.


Announcements and y’all I need your help.

So first announcement (I think I may have forgotten to tell y’all) I have started a new newsletter, I’m calling them loveletters and they are to be dispatches from your fave indie author. Including stuff like appearances, some wee tiny essays, real talk about writin’ life, and I will hip you to some stuff I’m into. I am sending the first one out this Friday so come right here and sign up.

Next thing is the big thing.

As I mentioned before after a lot of hand wringing, cries and anger I’ve decided I’m absolutely going to AWP. I am poor and going will cost a lot of money. I decided to start a GoFundMe to help defray the costs and whatnot.

SO here it is. If you can’t donate right now it’s totally okay. Please, PLEASE post the link everywhere you can or want to. I need to reach out further than my wee arms go and for that I need your help.

Click here or check out the sidebar there. I’m going to keep this going until next year so I can have the best chance of reaching my goal. If folks are interested I can talk more about why I’m asking for help and what I need. I also promise if you’re in LA for AWP and you see me, whether you donate or not come up and ask me for a hug. I’ll give you one. I’ll probably be a sweaty mess but if you don’t mind a little writer sweat, I got you boo.

AND last thing.

I am getting ready to beta test something I’m very excited about.

So keep your eye out for Write That Shit University Posts.

Thank you everyone who’s been reading and following my work. Y’all mean the world to me  you really do.

Genre Bending Problems.

We know I’m not the most constant when it comes to genre writing. I like to use whatever the story calls for and frequently that means writing in a way that is not standard for whatever genre.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is also a writer and a rabid fan of urban fiction, SF/F and Horror and she is kind of upset about the difficulty I’ve had over the years getting published in those realms.

Generally speaking my first instinct when I don’t manage to get stories into genre publications has been okay, well it’s just not good enough, after all they published X author’s piece and that was amazing.

After that passes, I realize that most of my problem/good thing is that I do genre bend.

While that makes for my work having its own little thing, that is not a thing that a lot of publications are fuckin’ with.

So I hole up and work on stuff. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not super into workshops, but I do have some trusted beta readers and often their responses are like YES YES YES.

However, industry reactions have been tepid. I have gotten some amazing rejections that had the ever hard to come by feedback. One for my story Bernie’s Warg, (BY AND THE WAY, this is my low key way of telling you for Happy Spoopy October, I’m relisting some stuff at Etsy) was that the story was gorgeous, great mix of cultures, but stepped too far (I typed fart… how apt) out of the bounds of the genre of the magazine and there was too much horror.

A horror mag said almost the same thing, but too much of the fantasy.

All in the original long version of Bernie’s Warg got it about 20 rejections, about 5 rewrites, cut about 4K words and the industry still don’t want it.

Folks who’ve read it have enjoyed it.

Now a few years ago I’d have just tucked it away and been sad.

These days breaking into these publications and in genre fiction is not really so important to me. I know how to put stuff out by myself. I know my work is worth a few bucks.

I’m starting to figure out that I will likely not get into the magazines I love so much because I write the way I do. I have tried to change that, to study and emulate more of the traditional forms in the genres I love but it’s unnatural. It’s not really my voice.

It’s my voice speaking, someone else’s words.

I have to thank working with Milcah for me being so comfortable in this position. While my case to be published slowed before we started working together, I felt so weird about it. I felt uncomfortable with my decisions and like I was doing it wrong.

While yes, I want to sell a novel someday.

Yes, I still want to write some great American novel.

Yes, I still want to write a vampire novel.

YES, I still write short stories.

I’m just doing it at my own pace on my own terms and that’s okay.

I don’t have to do things the way other folks do them. And that’s okay too.

Now my darling homiepies.

That’s now a thing, I’m calling everyone homiepie.

I have SO much work to do.

Tomorrow look out for yeah write.

Also later this week a super important announcement.


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