The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: writing (Page 1 of 9)

Wanna Read My Novel In Progress…In Progress?

One of many notebooks in which I'm writing my future masterpiece.

One of many notebooks in which I’m writing my future masterpiece.

I’ve been on the DL about it this week, but I figured now would be as good a time as any to share!

As you may know, I’ve got a Patreon page where you can become a Patron of my work for whatever amount you like (though there are a couple of perks and whatnot), both supporting my public offerings (my blog, podcasts, etc) as well as Patron-only work! Well, I’ve been working on my first novel, and for the past week I’ve been sharing it with my Patrons over at Patreon, 250 words at a time!

Why 250? Well first, my hope is that this becomes something that Patrons enjoy reading every day; a short, serialized story that will eventually be a novel, but can also keep readers engaged and entertained daily.

Second, I need to get my ass in the chair and find time to work on this if it’s every going to get done. It’s difficult between The Mary Sue and trying to work on my scripts. But I was tired of this being the thing that always got dumped on the back burner, so I figured out a word goal that I could hit every day without breaking a sweat. That’s 250. Some days I write much more, but I never write less.

If all goes well, by the end of 365 days I’ll have a 91,250-word manuscript to tear apart! 

Wanna read as I write? As of right now, I’m on Day 5/365 and at 1,281 words! Want a new excerpt in your email every day? Head on over to my Patreon page and become a Patron! Remember, you can set a monthly cap so you don’t go over-budget, and you’ll still have access to this work.

I’m looking forward to sharing this with more of you!

Be a Better Reader: Vote With Your Clicks

 

Photo from: Marketplacers.co.nz

Photo from: Marketplacers.co.nz

A 5-part series. Sure, there are a number of ways in which any writer you enjoy on the Internet can do their work better. However, there are also ways in which readers can improve how they interact with the content they consume, and in doing so, improve their own experience and the experience of fellow readers. (Obviously, my opinions are my own – this is my blog, after all – and are not endorsed in any way by any outlet past or present for whom I write or have written.)

As you’re probably aware, I’m an Assistant Editor over at The Mary Sue, where I have the pleasure of writing about all sorts of geeky and fun things through a feminist/social justice lens. 9 times out of 10, we write about things we love – new films/books/TV shows we’re excited about, inspiring women and girls doing cool things in all fields, cool new products we love, or discoveries in tech and science that we’re super-jazzed about. We really, really do.

But sometimes, we don’t. Sometimes, we hear about something in the news about which we want to use our platform to be a voice for change, equality, and a better world. And so, sometimes our writers will write pieces about films or TV shows, or even public figures and how they can do better in relation to things like sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, or issues of class. These are important concerns to us (and hopefully to all of you, too), and we believe it’s important to use these stories as stepping stones to start conversations .

That said, we’re well aware that, since there is so much wrong in the world, there’s always the danger of us dwelling on those things. It’s something we, as individual writers and as a site, fight against every day. We want to provide readers with a balance.

Determining that balance proves difficult, however, when what our readers respond to seems lopsided. We write so many stories about things we love, do interviews with amazing female creators doing awesome things, and tell the stories of awesome women and girls. Things that many of our readers say they want. And yet, those are the pieces that get the fewest “hits.” They’re often the pieces with the fewest comments, conversation, and interaction. They’re the pieces shared the least (unless they somehow involve a big-name celebrity like Chris Pratt).

Yet, whenever we post a social justice piece of any kind where one of our writers expresses a strong opinion about how someone or something could be or do better, we’re accused of writing “clickbait” (it’s amazing how often people mistake “an article they find interesting enough to click on” for “clickbait.” They’re two different things); accused of using important issues to “manufacture controversy” and get views for our site. Or, alternately, we’re accused of “always being negative;” harping on the wrong in the world without acknowledging how far women, LGBTQ+ folks, or ethnic minorities have come.

First of all, our intention with pieces like that is always to inform, educate, and start larger conversations in the hopes of making the world a little better than it was yesterday. Yes, of course we need to worry about things like our numbers – but that isn’t why we choose the things that ultimately end up on the site. We choose them, because they’re things we care about and they’re things we think are important – as evidenced by people having so much to say about them!

Secondly, we do write more celebratory things. If you look at our site, you’ll probably notice one or two “controversial” pieces every day while the rest is stuff we think is cool! And yet, the majority of posts get the least interaction, while the minority of the posts – these longer-form pieces featuring strong opinions about the world’s ills – get all the comments, shares, and interaction.

Many of those comments saying things like, “You’re always stooping to writing clickbait!” or “Why are you always complaining about stuff? I remember when you used to write celebratory things about things you like!”

We still do – often – you just don’t read those things.

What You Can Do: If you want to see a certain type of content more often, make sure you check it out when it’s offered, make positive comments, share it often, and engage people in discussion over it. If you only offer negative comments on things you don’t like, but don’t visit/comment on the things you do, you know what that means? It means that the thing you don’t like got a bunch of clicks, but that the thing you do like got shown no internet love. And so which of the two do you think we’re going to think our readers find more engaging?

When we look at our stats, we don’t see who came specifically to complain versus who came to love the piece. All we know is that people – for some reason – responded to this piece in a way they didn’t to others. As we’re trying to give our readers content they find engaging, we strive to replicate the kind of content our readers want to read. And while it’s great to receive feedback from individual readers about what they like and don’t like, the individual feedback is a small sampling of people who read our site. Stats (or “clicks”) are the easiest way for us to look at the entire picture.

Going to articles you hate to complain is less effective than visiting and interacting with the articles you do like.

This is not to say that you should never disagree with articles. By all means, disagree with the ideas in anything I write. But if you don’t like a type of post – rather than telling me you hate when I post stuff like that, support the stuff you like instead so I know you like it. Both you, and your fellow readers, will be better off for it. If you want to be a good reader and Internet Citizen, vote for things with your support rather than against them with your criticism.

Now, feel free to let me know if I missed something in the comments below! 🙂

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Be a Better Reader tomorrow!

(This post is supported by Patreon)

My New Gig!

Well, if you missed my RT of this tweet earlier, I can now talk about the new gig I’ve got! I’m now one of the assistant editors at The Mary Sue! 🙂 Geek friends rejoice!

I’m thrilled, as this is not only my first staffed writer gig, but my first real editorial position, so I’m excited for the challenge! And today’s already been super-challenging. It’s kicked my ass, to tell you the truth, but in the best way! The staff at The Mary Sue has been amazingly supportive, and as fast-paced as the job is, everyone is so efficient at what they do that I know once I learn the ropes it’ll be smooth sailing. Such a great team!

And I even got to write two posts today and take part in a third group post! Here’s my first post. And here’s the second. 🙂

Me and my first Mary Sue post!

Me and my first Mary Sue post!

So, huge thanks to Jill Pantozzi, The Mary Sue’s Editor-In-Chief, for the amazing opportunity. It’s gonna be a blast!

 

My New Status Quo

By the way, I’m completely IN LOVE with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. LOVE. 🙂

I’d made a decision at the beginning of this year. Freelance writing wasn’t cutting it for me financially, so after trying to make a living by cobbling several jobs together, I was willing to concede that it might be time to look for full-time employment. However, there were still reasons why I wanted to have a flexible, freelancer schedule – namely, that I wanted time to work on my writing, and I wanted the freedom to network during the day.

It’s amazing how important being available for coffee is in L.A.

BUT, I was willing to seek 9-5 employment as long as that employment served my ultimate career goals. In other words, I wasn’t going to be looking for barista jobs, or office work in an accountant’s office or anything. I wanted 9-5 employment in The Industry. If I was going to give up my free time, I wanted it to be with a purpose. So, I started seeking and applying for jobs at studios, production companies, and literary agencies. I reached out to friends who already work in this sphere asking them to keep their ears to the ground on my behalf, and many of them gave me a heads up about some great opportunities and very useful resources for my search! In the meantime, I still had my day jobs at HotPixel and at the other company I worked for one day a week.

You read that right. I typed “worked.” 

Because in a whirlwind couple of days last week, I was offered and accepted a new full-time job! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly what it is until tomorrow. Here’s what I can tell you:

  • It’s a 9-5 job, but I’ll be working remotely from home.
  • It’s salaried with benefits.
  • It’s a writing job.
  • It’s related to pop culture.

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you recently go out of your way to say that you were no longer going to be doing any pop culture writing, because you were burned out on it and you wanted to spend your writing time working on your own stuff? Yes I did. But here’s what I’ve realized since then: I wasn’t actually burned out on pop culture writing. I was burned out on freelancing. I was burned out on having to hustle for each and every piece I wrote. It was exhausting, and made me not enjoy the writing I had to do. But once I was offered an opportunity to write full-time – for ONE employer – suddenly the topic makes less of a difference.

As for the connections that can be made with a 9-5 job in The Industry vs a full-time writing job outside of it…the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it doesn’t make much difference. After all, all of the Industry connections I’ve made up until now (and there have been several!) I made as a freelance writer. What’s more, I feel like the connections I’ve made, because of the nature of my work as a pop culture writer, were more organic and friendly than they might be if I were to become, say, a receptionist at an agency, or some executive’s assistant – jobs where you’re required to blend into the background. As a writer, I can engage with people on my own terms, which has served me pretty well so far. Point is, networks can be built any number of ways. There’s no one right way to “break in.”

I gave my notice at HotPixel and my other job last week, too, which was kinda sad as I really enjoyed working at both places. I wouldn’t have left the jobs were it not for a better career opportunity, as my bosses at both places were extremely kind, and just cool people. It’s rare that you have an employer you can hang with, and I feel like both places offered me that. And as sorry as they are to see me go, they were extremely supportive and proud of me, and they totally get why I had to accept this new challenge.

I’m thrilled about this new opportunity, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow! 🙂 My days are going to be much more structured, and it will force me to get my personal writing done before and after my job, which actually might help me get more of it done. After learning the hard way, I’ve realized that unstructured free time is my kryptonite, and I think that this new gig will allow me to flourish in other areas.

I start tomorrow! Wish me luck! 🙂

 **This post is Funded by Patreon**

Seeing the World in Stories

bowl cut

When I was about 5 or 6, I paraded around the house – seriously, paraded. The rooms were all connected to each other in my family’s Corona, Queens apartment, so that I could go around the whole thing in a circle, and I marched around and around several times – chanting:

In search of old things! In search of old things! In search of old things!

I should explain that I come from an old family. Not Old Money – just old age-wise. I was the youngest of three children by fifteen years, which meant that my parents were much older than the parents of my peers, and had built up a history long before I was born. Whenever my Mom would clean (or whenever I’d snoop in the name of “playing”), old things would turn up: Photos, old clothes and jewelry, random artifacts of lives lived long before I ever existed. I was fascinated by these things, because as the (much) youngest, I was the furthest removed from their original context. Whenever one of these Old Things would turn up, I would immediately start to imagine how it was used in its glory days, before it ended up in the back of one of our closets, or in the jewelry box my mom never used.

I would give it a story. Where it came from, who it belonged to, what it meant. These stories would eventually go beyond my family and into the realm of uncharted islands, or royalty, or street-wise kids trading it to get by. Yeah, the stories I created weren’t always happy ones depicting perfect fantasy lives, but they were always adventurous, or fun – usually both – even if they included hardships or tragedies.

Hardships and tragedies make good stories. So do adventure and fun.

Anyway, there came a point where it seemed like our apartment had run out of story-treasure. I’d seen everything in the closets, everything in all the boxes, everything in all the cabinets. There was nothing left – no more unknown old things. But I wanted more! Old things were exciting and mysterious, especially when no one seemed to care about them except 5-year-old me, so there was no one else to ascribe meaning to them. To make them relevant again. That was my job.

By creating stories for them in my head, I was keeping them alive.

And so I chanted while marching around the Jusino apartment: In search of old things! In search of old things! In search of old things! 

I remember my brother laughing at my ridiculousness. Hell, even I knew I was being a little ridiculous in my methods, but that didn’t make the search itself anything less than serious biddness. I explained my search to my brother and asked him if he had anything, and he told me he didn’t, but that he’d keep an eye out in case he saw anything.

After about 3-4 times around the apartment, I remember my mom telling me to give it a rest. 🙂

But that’s the thing – my family let me chant and march around the apartment a bit before telling me to stop. And while I don’t remember if I found any new Old Things in my search that day (I vaguely remember finding things that were technically “old,” but nothing with a sense of History), I do remember that my family let me search, loudly. They might not have understood why I had to march around the apartment looking for stories to tell, but they didn’t stop me either. Whether or not it was important to them, they knew it was important to me.

I see the world in stories. I’m fascinated by people, because each individual is a deep pool of stories to tell. I’m fascinated by places I’ve never been, because they each contain the stories of millions. I’m fascinated by found objects, because you don’t always know where they’ve come from, or how they got there, and there’s immense pleasure in making it up. In giving things life.

Next week, I hope to start telling even more stories. I’ll be starting a podcast – The Teresa Jusino Experience. Original, huh? 🙂 In it, I’ll keep you posted on whatever news tidbits I’ve got going on in my writing life, and I’ll have a Teresopinion on some topic or other. But each episode will always end with a story. Because there’s nothing like telling stories to keep us alive.

**This post is Funded by Patreon**

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #5: Cinderellas Need Their Animal Friends

Well, we’ve all made it! This is the last day I’ll be blogging about my Patreon page in this way. 🙂 While I didn’t come close to my original goal of 25 Patrons in the first day (HA!), or my secondary goal of 10 Patrons in the first week, I have managed to average 1 new Patron a day! 5 days, 5 Patrons. That’s not bad at all! At this rate, I’ll have 34 by the end of February, 65 by the end of March….healthy, steady growth. As I hope this will be a long-term endeavor, I don’t mind at all if growth is slow and steady. We all know what wins the race, after all. 🙂

If you’d like to catch up, here are the previous 4 Reasons to Be a Patron:

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #1: YOU WANT MY WORK TO CONTINUE

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #2: AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU LIKE

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #3: MONTHLY LIMITS

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #4: COMMUNITY

And the fifth reason? Because Cinderellas can’t become Cinderellas without the help of their animal friends. 

The other day, I got a tiny bit of “backlash” after promoting my Patreon page on a Facebook writing group of which I’m a member. It went a little something like this:

Backlash person: “If you don’t mind my asking, what “resources” do you require in order to keep writing scripts? I’ve been writing for ages and I’ve never needed additional financial support to do so. I just write when I’m not at work.”

Me: “That’s great! 🙂 I was doing that for a long time, myself. However, I found that, when I had a full-time office “day job” I very often didn’t have the energy to go from 8 hours in front of a computer all day to switch gears and spend several more hours at home writing something that I then didn’t have time to adequately shop around and get paid for, because I was busy 9-5 when anyone I’d want to meet to potentially pay me for my writing would be available.

To answer your question specifically, the resources I require are money and time.

Point being, I want to be paid for my writing. (and I write other things in addition to scripts) I don’t want to write for free while doing something else. When I say I need financial support, what I mean is: I write, readers read and enjoy, readers pay me for my work, and the process starts all over again. I’m not simply talking about the physical act of writing. I’m talking about making it my living, and having the audacity to expect to be paid for it rather than continually doing it for free while killing myself working other jobs to support myself. I’ve done the day job/write on the side thing. I’m over it. I expect readers to pay writers for their work. It’s as simple as that.”

This person’s issue seemed to be that if they could be happy writing on the side while doing another job, then everyone should. Here’s why that doesn’t work for me: I don’t believe there’s any good reason why I should have to wait for a gatekeeper to put a stamp of approval on my work before it finds its way into the hands of people who’d like it. This doesn’t mean that I would never work for someone else, or go through a traditional gatekeeper. I’d LOVE to be staffed on a TV show, or have prose fiction published by a traditional publisher. I’m working towards those ends, too – did this person in the FB group believe that I was putting all my eggs entirely into this basket? I assure you all, I’m not! 🙂

This is not an anti-traditional anything screed. This is a statement against inaction while waiting around for some Fairy Godmother to make it all happen for you. 

When Cinderella* wanted to go to the ball, she was told that she couldn’t go without a dress, and her stepmother wasn’t about to buy her one. SO SHE MADE ONE. Or rather, she started to. But then her wicked stepfamily (aka, her Day Job) continually kept her from it. So she got help from her friends. And even after that, her family tore the finished dress to shreds, but Cinderella’s effort got the attention of her Fairy Godmother, who saw that Cinderella was willing to put the work in, but needed a little push resources-wise to get where she needed to be.

Her goal was the ball. Mine is to be able to earn a livable income from what I write.

If I can make money by producing my own work in another way, why shouldn’t I? If there are people who already enjoy what I do, why shouldn’t I reach out to them directly? Why shouldn’t I, if possible, exchange my work for money without a hoard of intermediaries, each expecting a cut?

There are plenty of people who write, or create other art, “on the side,” or as a hobby, or “for themselves,” and that’s amazing! Art should be a part of everyone’s life in some way. But it makes no sense for someone who wants to be a professional artist to wait around for someone else to package, market, and sell them.

While you’re waiting for Simon and Schuster to take notice of your novel, compile those short stories you’ve got lying around into a self-published tome and sell them online, or at local flea markets, or at local open mics where you can do a reading. While you’re waiting for a big network or new media outlet to take a chance on your brilliant pilot, or a studio to take notice of your killer screenplay, create a digital series, or a podcast, or a short film to tell that story you want to tell, and figure out how to monetize it.

Nothing gets the attention of a Fairy Godmother (or an agent, or a publisher, or a network) quite like someone who’s already working to making it happen on their own. And the Fairy Godmothers always get the credit for magically transforming the Diamond in the Rough. But chances are, even if Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother never showed up, she would’ve stopped crying, and figured out another angle for the next ball.

Because anyone who knows their own worth, is kind to their friends (even if she can’t make them all little hats and shirts), and is willing to continue making things and working on their craft in the face of adversity won’t be kept down forever. 

And that’s what Patreon is. It’s a home for Cinderellas making their own dresses for the ball. 🙂 And as we know from the Disney film, Cinderella wouldn’t have been able to do it without her only friends – the mice, the dog, and other woodland creatures.

Be my little Gus-Gus. 😉 Check out my Patreon page HERE.

* That’s the Disney version. In the original Brother’s Grimm version, she did even MORE work to get to the ball, and got help from the animals and a magical tree. Oh, and haters get their eyes plucked out by pigeons. 

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #4: Community

Not this kind of Community. Though that show is hilarious. :)

Not this kind of Community. Though that show is hilarious. 🙂

We’re almost at the end of my Week of Promoting Like Crazy! What am I promoting? I’m glad you asked – my Patreon page!

By the way, I was told today by one of my Twitter followers that my Patreon video was accidentally set to Private when it shouldn’t have been. Sorry about that! So, if you’ve tried to watch the video, and haven’t been able to – YOU CAN NOW! 🙂

So far this week, I’ve given you three good reasons to become a Patron:

5 Reasons to Become a Patron #1: You Want My Work to Continue

5 Reasons to Become a Patron #2: As Much or As Little As You Like

5 Reasons to Become a Patron #3: Monthly Limits

Today, I want to talk to you about one of my biggest reasons for joining Patreon. Community. 

Sure there are plenty of crowdfunding sites, or other websites that have comment sections and whatnot, but Patreon allows you to share intimately and exclusively with the people who love your work. My goal with this page is to not only expand my readership, but to nurture my relationship with the people who take time out of their busy lives to read the stuff I’ve written. I want my Patreon page to feel like hanging out at a friend’s house to commiserate over some book you’ve read, or TV show you’ve watched, or movie you’ve seen. I want to get to know you as much as I’d love for you to get to know me. I want to create a community. I already know some of you are out there! The people that send me messages on Twitter or through my Facebook page. The folks who’ve come up to me after panels I’ve moderated. Join me! Let’s build a treehouse and start a club! 🙂 Who knows – there might even be surprises and presents in it for you!

Though, I really hope you like me for me, you guys. 😉

Check out my Patron page by clicking HERE. And thank you!

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #3: Monthly Limits

Incredible Girl is one of the many projects your patronage will be supporting!

My upcoming digital series, Incredible Girl, is one of the many projects your patronage will be supporting!

If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that I’ve already given you two great reasons to consider becoming a Patron of mine at Patreon:

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #1: You Want My Work to Continue

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #2: As Much or As Little As You Like

Today, I wanted to bring up one of the biggest reasons why Patreon is such a great site, and it has a little something to do with Reason #2. In addition to being able to set your “per story” patronage to whatever amount you’d like, you can also set a Monthly Limit! 

A Monthly Limit means that, no matter how many stories I create on Patreon, once you set your limit, you’ll never have to pay over that. So, let’s say I start out with creating 4 stories a month, and you agree to be my Patron for $1/story and set your Monthly Limit for $4…if I suddenly become more prolific and create 7 stories in any given month, you still only pay $4.

But you remain a Patron and still have access to all of my Patron-exclusive material! 

What’s more, your monthly limit can change. You’re never locked into any amount. Ever! Pretty damn cool, huh? 😉

Now, I’m currently at 3 Patrons as of this writing. I would love to get to 10 by the end of this week. Are there 7 of you out there willing to step up? The stories will start coming next week, and I’d love for as many of you as possible to have access not only to the stories I’ll be releasing to the general public, but also to the Patron-exclusive short stories I’ll be writing. Join me!

Check out my Patron page by clicking HERE. And thank you!

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #2: As Much Or As Little As You Like

Me, after FINALLY having a shower after pulling an all-nighter preparing my Patreon launch. Oh, the glamorous life of a writer. ;)

Me, after FINALLY having a shower after pulling an all-nighter preparing my Patreon launch. Oh, the glamorous life of a writer. 😉

It’s difficult to be friends with lots of artists, I know. Because they’re all always doing something, and chances are, they’re going to ask you for money to help them make that something. Deep down, you’d love to say yes – they’re your friend after all, and you love good art – but where do you draw the line? You can’t very well give to everyone’s film or go see everyone’s play or help fund everyone’s album.

Well, to set your mind at ease a bit, here’s the great thing about Patreon: you can give whatever amount you like. Literally, any amount. Being a Patron doesn’t “start” with a particular amount, you can just type one in. Like, I recently became someone’s Patron for $0.50/month. You can become a Patron with $0.01/month! Sure, you might not get any rewards at that level, but if there’s an artist that you want to show support, those pennies add up (especially if you can get other people to join you!), and I can’t even begin to express how your moral support bolsters a creative person, who really just wants to know that they’re not screaming out into the void!

But even better? If for some reason you’re really strapped that month and can’t part with that $0.50 (and believe me, I’ve been there! Sometimes getting myself ramen is more important than supporting other artists. I get it!), you can cancel individual pledges if you do it before the month is up! So, you remain a Patron…you just forgo that one payment. And it’s fine.

Artists aren’t trying to bankrupt you. But they are trying to get paid for their job the way you get paid for your job. And I tell ‘ya what – you try pulling this “flexible payment, whatever-amount-you-want, cancel your payment anytime” thing with your mechanic, and see how far that gets you. 😉

But seriously, Patreon is designed to be as convenient and easy financially for you as possible. So, if there’s an artist whose work you enjoy (like, oh, I don’t know, me?), know that if you give through Patreon, you’re not making a life-or-death commitment. You’re just supporting art you enjoy when and as much as you can. 🙂

Check out my Patron page by clicking HERE. And thank you!

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #1: You Want My Work to Continue

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This article by Ann Bauer at Salon, posted by a writer friend of mine, Jennifer K. Stuller, on Facebook today couldn’t have come at a better time! As I reach out to readers today in launching my new Patreon page, it’s important to understand just how much writers depend on others just so their work can exist. The world isn’t designed for most writers to make a living wage – even the “successful” ones. And very often, the writers who “make it big” are the ones who had huge amounts of outside support – from spouses, from rich families, or from being born into families that already had literary connections. Or, they were able to tap into an audience through grassroots hustle, and that small but mighty tribe supported that writer consistently enough that they were able to get to a place where their writing career was sustainable.

In the Salon piece, Bauer is up-front about the fact that the only reason she is able to have a career as a writer, is because her husband has a stable, well-paying other job, and he supports her career despite her being able to contribute less to the household. She believes this up-front-ness is important. The piece goes on to illustrate that there’s this illusion that writers (and, in my opinion, other artists) put forward that they owe their success entirely to hustle and grit and determination while obfuscating any privileges they might have had. From the piece:

I attended a packed reading (I’m talking 300+ people) about a year and a half ago. The author was very well-known, a magnificent nonfictionist who has, deservedly, won several big awards. He also happens to be the heir to a mammoth fortune. Mega-millions. In other words he’s a man who has never had to work one job, much less two. He has several children; I know, because they were at the reading with him, all lined up. I heard someone say they were all traveling with him, plus two nannies, on his worldwide tour.

None of this takes away from his brilliance. Yet, when an audience member — young, wide-eyed, clearly not clued in — rose to ask him how he’d managed to spend 10 years writing his current masterpiece — What had he done to sustain himself and his family during that time? — he told her in a serious tone that it had been tough but he’d written a number of magazine articles to get by. I heard a titter pass through the half of the audience that knew the truth. But the author, impassive, moved on and left this woman thinking he’d supported his Manhattan life for a decade with a handful of pieces in the Nation and Salon.

Now, when she discusses privileges, it isn’t just about being born into a rich family. There’s the privilege of having a spouse who supports you, or someone else having grown up with connections in the industry, etc, etc. This isn’t to begrudge anyone their success, nor is it to say that these people who have gotten to the point where they can support themselves exclusively through their writing got there without talent. All the privileges in the world won’t help if you’re writing is complete garbage and unrelatable to anyone.  But to never acknowledge those privileges is a mistake, and often causes many writers, who don’t see themselves stacking up against these people with huge advantages, to just give up and do something else, leaving the world without their unique voices forever, simply because no one provided them consistent support.

I was so glad to read this piece, because for a long, long time I wrote “on the side” or wrote as one of a million other freelance gigs, and it’s frustrating to look around, as someone who doesn’t have the resources, and be made to feel like you’re doing something wrong, or that you’re lazy, or that there’s something wrong with you if you’re not on the same level as other writers when the truth is, writers generally don’t get to “hustle” the way they need to in order to build a sustainable career, unless they have their lives taken care of in other ways. 

My bff in NYC, Robin, baked me a cake to celebrate my first publication in a print anthology! Support of all kinds, emotional and financial (and edible!) is so important.

My bff in NYC, Robin, baked me a cake to celebrate my first publication in a print anthology! Support of all kinds, emotional and financial (and edible!) is so important.

Now, here’s where I’ve been lucky: I’ve never been unemployed. So, even when I’ve written “on the side” I was able to pursue freelance writing gigs in the evening while working a day job during the day. The down side? Very often, after working eight hours at an office job, you don’t really have the energy to come home, switch gears, and spend another couple of hours in front of a computer to do your writing. So yes, I wrote, but progress was slow. I’ve always had good friends and family who’ve supported me, both emotionally and financially, when I’ve really needed it. I’m so grateful for that! The down side? They have their own lives to deal with! It’s unreasonable to expect the support of the same few people (and only those few people) to be sustainable for the long haul. Unless you have a really rich relative who doesn’t mind paying your rent, buying you food, and paying for your transportation for years, the fact is, this alone isn’t enough, and it also fosters a feast or famine roller coaster that’s just super-unpleasant. My current partner, who is also a freelancer, but whose work (production sound mixing) generally pays more per gig than writing gigs pay, supports me tremendously both emotionally (especially emotionally) and financially – allowing me to pay my share of rent on my own pay schedule, doing a majority of the grocery shopping, and driving my carless butt around when I need to get somewhere important. I wouldn’t be able to do anything I’m doing now without that support, and I love my partner for it. The down side? As I said, my partner’s also a freelancer, meaning that my support is coming from a source that’s only slightly better off than I am. Also, see above re: support from family and friends not being sustainable long-term. Couple that with the fact that I’m a fiercely independent person and hate the feeling of dependency this engenders, and it’s not an entirely pleasant situation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m immensely grateful, and I know that my partner wants to support me in this way and is a grown-up capable of making decisions about how money/time is spent. But just the same, there’s a strong feeling of ick about it. 

Here’s the thing. I know that people outside my immediate circle of family and friends read and enjoy my work. I have the blog stats, the credits, and the online comments (not to mention personal emails and private messages on social media) to prove it. I also know that all of those people buy books, purchase digital media, and go to concerts and films all the time!

Supportive peeps at a Moffat's Women panel I was moderating at GeekGirlCon two years ago.

Supportive peeps at a Moffat’s Women panel I was moderating at GeekGirlCon two years ago.

Those are the people whose support I now need, and Patreon is the easiest way for them to show that support right now, in a way that will sustain my work most directly. If you’ve ever read my work and liked it – if you think that you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as what I can do, and you want to see what I’m capable of with just a little push – become a Patron.

This isn’t charity, nor do I want charity. I want to create work of value, have people enjoy it, and have those same people repay me for enjoyment of my work by popping a dollar or two into the online tip jar to make sure I can continue creating the work they like so much. I want to give them special rewards for their Patronage. I want fair exchange. I want people who say that art is important to them to show it.

I wanna tell you stories.

Check out my Patron page by clicking HERE. And thank you!

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