AYYYYYY we OUT HERE in 2018

Ahem.

Hi y’all. I hope the new year finds you upright and feeling not too terrible.

What’s good 2018?

So I’ve been in the background scheming and plotting and writing.

I’ve been making a lot of plans and working up a lot of decisions.

One of the things I’m thinking very hard about a couple of things.

Do I want to divest from a lot of traditional/mainstream lit world shit? The decision has been weighing heavily on my mind for months.

Honestly, 90% of literary pubs just do not cater to, serve or even on teh face of just reading them want shit to do with me. I feel like I’ve fought for the literary community so hard, I have done so much labor and wept and bled and had anxiety attacks and now, I just don’t know.

I’m very torn between my very deep and real love for the literary community at large and the fact that often after interactions,  I feel beat up.

For a while I honestly just thought, maybe my work just sucks now. I suck. I mean, I got fucking doxxed for doing the work in terms of decolonizing and whatnot a writing space. I fall down these terrible shame holes when I check the analytics on damn near anything I do.

I have a BIG ass essay about this and all my real feels but really why do I do this to myself?

I originally had planned on actively seeking out more mainstream lit (remember I DO include freelance work in my saying lit world) world opportunities. And then I was like, why am I trying to put myself back into the same position I was in before? Do I really want to tell myself lies on the level that yes I can do me and STILL get the opportunities?

Nah.

I did some heavy re-evaluating of what I want out of my creative life and here’s where I’ve landed for now.

Truths:

  • I will likely never be a super high dollar writer.
  • I have a sizeable distrust of a LOT of people in the industry.
  • I cannot work with people I don’t trust. I have to do that in the WHOLE rest of my fucking life so, I don’t want to do that with my creative work.
  • The other choices I’m making in my life in order to improve the quality of my lived life can apply to my work.
  • I have worked with some very amazing editors in the past couple of years, all of whom welcome me back with open arms and hearts and who appreciate me as I am.

So what am I gonna do?

  • Write like the mother fucker I am.
  • Continue to write what moves me and not what’s gonna make me money.
  • Continue using Medium as a small income stream.
  • Be a bit less shy about pitching the editors I trust.
  • Continue being adventurous with what I’m doing.

That’s all the fuck I need to do.

All I have to do, is the shit I know I am good at.

The rest, will happen. I have to trust myself and my process and my Weird Voice and my heart.

That’s what is going down.

Soon, I’ll be coming back to nerd real hard again about some stuff. So happy new year babes.

I love y’all.

 

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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!!

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.

Tools and Whatnots.

Let’s talk tools. (There will be affiliate links)

In 2016 I bought a little used RCA windows tablet. I bought it mainly to write on. It was small enough to be portable for me and not so expensive I’d freak out in public if someone touched it.

Well, lil buddy is pretty much only good for games now. It served well and the keyboard took my beastlike pounding pretty well.

So now, I am on the hunt for a new thing.

Folks keep recommending things like the Lenovo Yoga tablet. Or of course a Windows Surface. Both sexy little things that give me a nerd boner. Words like ultraportable make me feel a lil something in the pants.

But, if I go that route I’m going to have to wait until at least next May and I’d rather not do that.

The thing with the RCA tablet is that even at peak, it just wasn’t quite powerful enough for my needs. I need to be able to run my word processing, probably have an internet window or four open for other research and not have it lag out or crap out. I am honestly too paranoid to carry my big ass laptop so, new tablet it is.

I’m thinking I will probably get a Kindle 10. Multiuse gives me wood although most of the cases with keyboards I’ve found have looked a little wee tiny for me to get used to.

I do wish that Kindle, Android and microsoft would stop pissing on each other so a body could use shit they pay for like Office365 across more devices without bullshit. I am a little leery that I won’t be able to use word online the way I like with a kindle 10.

If I get the kindle 10, I’m going to have to do a work around.

What I really want is laptop capability, with real windows 10 and tablet size.

Most of the office related apps I’ve tried are shit for working on and Google Docs has dry fucked me one too many times.

This little thing here is about as close to ideal as I think I’m going to get.

Presuming I can sell two or four more essays I can probably get one in Decemberish.

I don’t want to be reliant on apps. Microsoft apps just don’t work in a way that makes them very usable for me. And you can’t use online Word with mobile devices. I am also really reluctant to depend on wifi as well.

Sometimes trying to get tech shit figured out as it intersects with economic shit is bullshit.

Other than that, things are fairly okay. Laptop at home is working nicely.

Ahem.

As things stand right now. Here is what my side hustle/patreon money budget looks like.

bills

Bear in mind these are my personal bills currently. This doesn’t count family budget. Not rent and shit. Being that Sept-October have both been financially crazed and I’m trying to save up from my side hustle money to move…well.

In a perfect world, this budget would leave me about 85$ to use to tuck into my moving savings. I make a tiny bit over 200$ a month on Patreon but I account for folks lowering pledges and declines.

Logically/rationally I will not buy any new tech/anything that costs more than 10$ for a while. My entertainment budget is pretty much 0$. After this week I’m giving up my morning coffee/calm/poetry time. I’m taking a slightly later bus so I can walk to the transit center so I don’t have to walk around downtown for an hour before work, neither is great but the later bus is the slightly safer option.

This morning I tweeted a little about my current situation and two people kindly checked in and a couple sent me emails to lecture me about how to budget.

I hate doing this.

But y’all ready for the poor people dance?

HERE IT GO.

I work a full time actual real job. It is almost barely enough to cover household bills. I’m talking my partner’s care/medications, rent, lights, phone/internets. Our household entertainment budget is 15$.

So the house budget is pretty much on lock and every red fucking cent I make in my day  job is just for staying alive.

So as I’ve talked about fucking constantly, writing money and patreon are for literally everything else.

After the last couple of months shit has been rough.

SO okay per usual. You can find my various tip jars in the side bar, check out my Patreon or donate to my Gofundme.

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.

 

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.