Ode to a Tip Jar A ringing noise upon my ear tells me that an email is here, so, I look to see, and sure enough a WordPress logo, bold and tough. Oh, perhaps has someone read my tome? I wonder aloud as I start to roam my way around the website’s format, hoping to find a like or comment. But look! Oh no! It bears bad news! No, not a troll with too tight shoes, no, not a bot trying to sell me a cruise; it’s the company telling me it’s time for my dues! But woe is me, I’m out of work, and what little is coming is already marked, so, what is a writer-girl to do when her tip jar is empty and her wallet is, too? Shill yourself, honey, sell them a book! Better yet, a Patreon subscription-those are off the hook! Or if they really love you, the tip jar they will find… to the very right of the blog page, no waiting in line. See, usually it doesn’t matter, I get by on what I get, but I lose quite a chunk if certain needs are not met, like the webhosting bill that comes due every July and makes me suddenly want to vomit and cry. So here I am asking a favor of you, my dearest readers, I hope you come through, and offer to me maybe a buck or two, so I can keep this site running for me and for me and for you. Ok, now that my rhyme is done, I’m off to pen some delirium, because I just got a new notification and it has brought great exasperation. So hopefully you find some happy in your day, because mine is slowly ebbing away, and I urge you please to consider a donation, so I can keep on writing these quotations.
So, it happened as predicted, and I was sick during my first week of work and missed Thursday’s class. I was then sick on Saturday. And Monday. And here we are on Tuesday, and I am well, but it is a tenuous wellness. It could be over and done, as is usually the case after a couple of days. I hope so, at least.
So obviously I haven’t been able to update. I haven’t been able to do much of anything, really. I felt total mom-failure yesterday, because K was supposed to come over in the morning. I had intended to get all shopping and cleaning done and then go pick her up around 11, and we would go spend the nice warm day together. Alas, no, I was puking in an emesis bag when she texted me at 1030am. She arrived after dinner to a messy house with no food in it, and I felt like a jerk. She assured me it was no big deal. Her and Mark took a trip up to 7/11 to get snacks and drinks, and then we watched tv for a while and I went to bed early.
I had plans for today, but the weather ruined them instead of my stomach. My cousin G is coming over, and I wanted to take the girls to the park or something, but alas it is pouring. At least they can have each other’s company on this gloomy day.
I must be off now, because I have many things to do in a very short time, and if I rush myself, I get sick. And we don’t want any of that. So, happy Tuesday.
Right now, I am neglecting my WIP.
I mean, I’m working on other things. There’s the blog, and then I’m prepping a microchap to send out tomorrow morning. But I’m not giving her the attention she deserves, and she’s angry about it. I projected to be done by tonight, and that will only happen if I spend the next six hours locked in this office without internet access. So, y’know…that’s not happening.
I’m only a few scenes and an epilogue away, though. I plan to write a scene today when I finish what needs to be done, and hopefully if I can find the time, I will be done with the first draft by the end of the week. That would be ideal. Then I can spend the rest of the month of February editing, as planned.
I considered hiring a professional editor, but it is way out of my price range at the moment. Mark wants to stary a GoFundMe for writing costs, which is a great idea in theory but probably not in practice. I don’t even know if you can make those for career advancement purposes, and honestly, I have enough trouble selling books and Patreon subscriptions, and that’s cash for a product, so what makes me think people are just going to GIVE me money?
I’m just out here trying to get my Patreon’s sold, really. That’s the best revenue for me right now, aside from folks using the tip jar…it’s over there on the side of the page, and is as close to a GoFundMe as I’m going to get. If you really do just want to GIVE me money, that’s how to do it. Otherwise, buy a product. Pick up my poetry on Amazon, or check out my Patreon, where for 5$ a month you get something new every week. All the proceeds from all these things go towards writing expenses…and coffee. Which I suppose, is a writing expense in its own right.
Anyway…professional editing set aside until some real cash flow comes, I will be doing it on my own, and then sending it to a few trusted sources for their notes. Then another edit, a polish, and its off!
It’s a huge task. I mean, I think of the microchap, which didn’t take me very long to put together at all. I knew I had a bunch of poems centering one topic, so I organized them and got it ready for submission. It took maybe two hours total. My WIP, however, has been going since November 1st. Much, much longer, if we are talking “spark” to finish…in that case it’s been over a decade. And here I am, on the last leg of the race, attempting to limp my way across the finish line by Friday.
Wish me luck.
Today is Wednesday. No, no, don’t check your calendar. You’re on Thursday, I’m on Wednesday, because I am trying to stay a little ahead in some areas, in case of catastrophe. My stomach has been…disagreeable. I went to the gastroenterologist and our new theory is that the whole shebang is broken, not just the stomach. Nothing is working right, from the esophagus to the intestine. My digestive system’s check engine light has been on for a while, but recently, it began blinking, and now here we are with an endoscopy on Tuesday and a bunch of new medicines at the pharmacy.
We shall wait. We shall see. In the meantime, we shall eat applesauce and dream of cheeseburgers.
And, try to focus on something else. Like work.
So far today I have updated my Patreon and assembled my spring submissions and now I’m here, and hopefully if I don’t run out of steam, I will go crack open the WIP and work on making that “Netflix money.” It’s not coming as smoothly as it was, but I think a lot of that has to do with two things. One, I like a good deadline. NaNo really pushes me in that department, and I deliver. Second, I need recovery time after such a sprint.
But now I’m recovered and ready to get back at it, but I’m stalled, and I think that might be because I am so close to being finished. I’m writing the last third of the book now, and I’m halfway though that. It’s time to say goodbye, including to a few characters that aren’t going to make it to the end scene. This is some heavy stuff for a writer, you see. We both love and loathe killing off our characters, and it is a traumatic experience all around.
And then, the final scene, or the epilogue…haven’t decided which I’m going with…and two little words: the end. And then, it’s over.
The fifteen years that it took me to put this from spark to paper, will be over. Then what?
The most garbage part of the job, the part for which I wish I was wealthy enough to hire someone. I love editing poetry and short pieces, but a whole novel?! I do not know where to start. Look at my novella, still sitting unedited three years after completion. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not procrastination. It just straight up SUCKS to edit a large work. (In my opinion, at least.)
So, that’s really all I have for right now: a broken digestive system and a WIP to struggle. I am hopeful that things improve on both fronts, as I am pretty sick of being pretty sick, and I also want these words out of my fingertips and into my computer.
I don’t think I’m out of steam yet. Let me go open her up. See what happens.
Happy Wednesday. Err…Thursday.
I fell behind in literally everything regarding writing last week, and for once it wasn’t due to illness, just the impending holiday season plus some extra personal stressors. Suffice it to say this is not our best Christmas, but we are keeping our heads up. That said, I was preoccupied and so all writing endeavors were put on hold, ergo no blog update last Thursday, no work on the WIP, and me frantically penning a late newsletter for my Patreon. I wrote in there about my year in writing…which was silly because I’m also going to write about that here, and now.
This year has two halves to one unit. Writing is not just the actual words on the paper, but also the publishing side of things. Let’s start there.
My publishing year was dismal. Icky book sales, only two poems published, and still no release date for my mini-chap after working on it all year. I try to brighten myself, however, with looking at the financial side of things…I did sell books. I started my Patreon, providing me with monthly money for writing expenses. I made very small revenue on my blog, but revenue nonetheless. And soon my mini-chap will be published, and that will bring in funds as well.
Then, the actual writing side of things. I have a couple of new poems, and I polished up quite a good little short story, too. Most importantly, I dropped over 50k words into my WIP, and am hoping to churn out the rest by the end of January. If that goes to plan, I will be editing and then preparing for query sometime in March 2022. The novel is the moneymaker, folks…I know in my heart it will be published. And I also know that someday I will be sitting in an office negotiating a film deal. (I’m not trying to brag or anything, I’m trying to manifest.) And when that day comes, I will look back on now as the time when it all began, and I started to really make a career of this. I will look back at pitiful book sales and silly ad revenues and think…gee, what a year that was.
Anyways, I’m off to do the things that make the monies, as Christmas is in 5 days. A gentle holiday reminder that I now have a tip jar to the right of this page, in case you want to help me out with buying stocking stuffers. And always accepting new patrons on Patreon. And also books for sale. Just sayin’.
I didn’t update yesterday because I woke up puking at 2am. A quick jaunt to Mercy told me I would be waiting for several hours, so I went over to St. Joe’s, which is in many ways my preferred hospital for my situation. Mercy is close and has all my history, but it’s always 100 patients and 10 nurses, whereas St. Joe’s has this weird reputation for being crappy, so the ratio is completely flipped. I’ve never received poor service there, however, only the best. And yesterday they ushered me in quickly and had me medicated and calm within half an hour.
Anyway, that was not the first visit to the ER this week. Hopefully, it was the last, but now today I still feel weak and out of it, and am vaguely surprised I’m even sitting here writing right now. I don’t really have a topic, either; I just want to talk about Patreon.
Patreon is the single best way for me to earn a monthly income through writing. A monthly income means a website that never goes down, and ad funding for my books. What is Patreon, you ask? Well, it’s a monthly subscription service connecting you to creators. If you visit my page, you will see I am creating poetry, short stories, essays, and more. Now, there are three subscription tiers, and should you decide to subscribe, you should ABSOLUTELY DO THE CHEAPEST ONE. I mean, it’s super sweet if you want to send me extra money (PS this blog has a tip jar over on the right) but I don’t know how to work the extra features so frankly, you won’t get what you paid for. Do the 5$ subscription. I will be plenty grateful and you will have access to everything.
And what is everything? Well…we have poems, stories, book chapters, chapbook excerpts, vlogs, essays, newsletters, and cover reveals. At least a piece a week unless I am laid up, I try to provide my subscribers with an insight into the writing process for me as well as my life as a writer. Everything is unpublished, new, or raw at the time that I post on Patreon, and it’s the only place to find my fledgling videos, The Vociferous Vlog (which I really have to work on this weekend…oh please don’t let me get sick again.)
All I’m saying is that if you like me, and you like what I write, and you’ve got 5 bucks a month…I will happily trade you some words. I really enjoy doing my Patreon, and I am hoping it picks up a little not just for monetary purposes but because I like the platform for connection that it provides. There isn’t anywhere else I would be comfortable sharing the first chapter of my WIP, or starting out making vlogs.
I’m editing the page a little later today to give possible subscribers a taste of what is being offered, so there will likely be two or three pieces available later, but there’s a lot more available once you subscribe. Either way, I hope you check it out and consider subscribing.
That all said, my shoulders are killing me. I’m headed back to the couch for a bit. Happy Friday.
Sure, my experience with drugs is fairly limited. I’ve smoked pot, so I know what that’s like. And I’ve gotten copious amounts of morphine and dilaudid due to my stomach condition, so I know what a temporary rush those can be. Somewhere along the line, I stumbled across an article telling me that most people who have been on SSRIs for a long time cannot get the chemical high associated with most uppers and psychedelics. So, that wiped all other curiosities off the table with the rationalization that trying anything else would be a risky waste of time and money.
However, there is one dragon I will chase until the day I die, and that is the writer’s high.
You’ve heard of a runner high, I’m sure, and I assume this is similar, though I don’t know because I only run if something Is chasing me. I know it has something to do with a release of endorphins to the brain, but I’m not sure what triggers it all of the time. But me, I’ve been getting high every day for the past week.
It happens when I finish writing a scene, and I edit it really quick. I don’t do extensive edits during the first draft because the goal is just to get the words on the paper, but I will read it back and clean it up a little. When I’m done, and I save it, and input my count on the NaNo website, I feel a rush come at me and the next thing you know I am literally dancing around the office because I can’t sit still.
I asked Twitter when they experience this, and folks said it happens once in a while, or when they finally publish. Now, I know the publishing high, too, but this is different. The publishing high is great because you can tell your family and friends about it and they get really happy for you, but the writer’s high is a little more personal. I can’t very well call Kevin every time I write a scene and ask him to celebrate with me. Instead, I celebrate alone, in my own little happy ways.
I wrote two scenes so far today, and both left me feeling on top of the world. They weren’t even what I would consider good, they are just words on the paper, but that is enough for a first draft. I am currently 5k away from my goal, and roughly 25k from the end of the novel, and I am dying to find out what the “completion high” will feel like again, especially with such a large work this time.
Anyways, I don’t know about you, but I’m off to watch a parade and stuff my face with turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!
WordPress recently informed me that my blog is getting a new follower practically every day, which is interesting. I mean, this isn’t Twitter, where a few characters grab your attention and you hit that follow button. You have to actually read my article to want to follow me, and most if not all of these followers are fellow bloggers. I am starting to push the 350 mark, and these folks are from all over the globe, which I just think is so cool. Like, I’ve had a reader in Malta for several years and I don’t know if it’s one person or a couple, but either way…Hello!! I think about you all the time!
I do. I think about my readers a lot. And so…
Dear Constant Reader (as Steve would say,)
Hello again, friend. I see you. I see you each Monday and Thursday when my page views skyrocket and I get the little list of countries across the world that are reading my words. I see you each week when I get my rundown report from WordPress, and it tells me how you found me or where you went, and if you liked what you saw. I see you. (But not like…in a creepy way.)
I have kept this blog for a few years now, maybe four I think, and I have been growing it in my head for so long, that it is beautiful to me that you would stop and give a portion of your day to my thoughts. How selfless that is in its way, and how much it means to me.
I can write books, and I can publish poems, and I can Facebook and tweet and TikTok, but I don’t get the love from there that I get from here. I don’t have randoms stumbling across a post they connect with and then suddenly following me and devouring half my work in one sitting. That only happens with my blogs, this one especially. I have been keeping blogs for over 20 years now, and I have never seen the successes I have with this one. That is because of you.
I write for you, in here. Not for myself even, or any kind of notoriety at all, but because there is someone out there who likes what I have to say, or at the very least, wants to hear it; wants to listen. I write conversationally here, because I feel I am conversing with you, doing this with you, not alone. And I thank you for that.
Lately my posts are a little short, because I am going so hard on my novel right now, which is just swimming right along, but my blog is still the most important thing I write. It is my soapbox that I pull out and stand on, it is my diary where I divulge my secrets, it is my old friend who knows me better than I know myself. And you, constant reader…it would be nothing were it not for you. So…thanks.
Originally, I was going to do NaNo updates on Thursdays like I did the past two years, but then I realized I already wrote about it on Monday, and also that’s when it started, so if I cover it on Mondays, it makes more sense.
So, what am I supposed to write about today?
I could write about the mayoral election which resulted in Byron Brown declaring victory before the votes were counted, which really plays right into what I expect from that guy. Can’t accept that primary loss but will jump right in and assume he’s the winner after a write-in campaign that has yet to be certified. Whatever. I can wait.
I could write about my stomach, which has been quite good lately, knock on wood. I’ve been on a new pill for about a month and have had few problems and am both optimistic and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Overall, I feel pretty good and am trying to do things like live a normal life and eat the occasional cheeseburger.
I could write about writing, of course, in the non-NaNo sense…but not much there. Just the blog, and the weekly Patreon. Oh! I did get a TikTok and you can find me @hamneggs716 (of course.) I will occasionally read poetry for you, if you’re interested. Other than regular old promoting myself (which I can’t stand, but do admit I’m getting better at,) I’ve just been doing research and work on my NaNo WIP. Which I will tell you about on Monday.
So, that leaves nothing else to write about, so I will say goodbye and go back to work on my book and maybe make a fresh pot of coffee.
As some of you know, in 2018 I started my publication journey. A tool I found useful in this endeavor was Twitter. On Twitter, there is a hashtag: #WritingCommunity. I started following folks who posted in this community, and most of the time it was very fruitful. I made new friends, and it connected me to literally thousands of writers in every stage of development. There were these things called “Writer’s Lifts” where everyone got to know each other and promoted their work a little. Thing is, back then, those lifts were about making friends. Now…it’s all about selling books.
Don’t get me wrong, I participate, particularly on Saturday as that is #ShamelssSelfPromoSaturday on Twitter. I drop my link into some lifts and hope for a retweet or two. I can confidently say I have sold a few books this way, but it’s not like it’s breaking the sales records. It’s just a nice way to get your work to someone who otherwise might not find it. So yes, I’m cool with promotional lifts. However…
I’ve lost the connection.
I don’t KNOW my followers like I used to. Yes, there are a great many more now than I had a couple of years ago, but I don’t feel the camaraderie like I used to. We don’t chat. We just hype each other’s stuff. Again, don’t get me wrong, that’s cool…but I have no real writer friends. I searched for such on Twitter, and I found some. Two live in the area; a guy from the city who writes what he refers to as “dude lit,” and a blogger in the southern tier who has a garden I am envious of. I often contemplate what it would be like to meet these folks, and have some sort of Algonquin roundtable writing discussion, but I’m an anxious human who has trouble stepping outside her comfort zone. So online friendship it is.
Anyway, I was thinking about how Twitter used to be cool and decided I would see if it still could be. I posted a Writers Lift, but I made rules. Number one, you could not drop me a book link. If you did, I deleted it. Number two, you had to introduce yourself and tell us what you write or what you’re working on. Third, you had to make a friend.
I got 188 replies.
188 people introduced themselves and their writing, and conversations broke out all over the place. I tried to keep up but eventually had to mute the tweet when I got 35 notifications at once. Many folks thanked me for this “new spin” on a lift, which made me chuckle because really, I’m just bringing back the old-school jams. One person gave me an idea for another kind of lift, where we praise OTHER author’s work, not our own, which I think I may try out sometime this week. A woman in Greece emailed me and told me she liked one of my poems, and asked if she could translate it to Greek and publish it in her lit mag. I agreed, and you can find it HERE. Someone else emailed me and told me that they read my excerpts on Amazon and immediately bought the book. Others talked to me about their writing endeavors. Overall, it was a very productive little tweet for me, and I really hope it was for others too.
A lot of the crap I see on Twitter now is people trying to up their engagement with ads and random questions and the like. Me, I have always kept my tweets either about writing or observations from life, and I try to keep the selling of myself to a minimum. Not that I don’t, because I’m an indie author and that’s part of the job description, but I’d rather read “real” stuff, if you know what I mean. I’d rather you tweet about the sandwich you had for lunch than see another post that starts with “now available on Amazon…”
I mean…yeah, I’m guilty. But I’m trying to do other things, too. Got to keep it fresh, y’know?
So my finding in this little experiment is that people actually do want to connect on Twitter still, it just seems to be a little harder somehow than it was 2 years ago. Perhaps it’s the algorithm, which has totally screwed me more than once, but overall, I think it’s just that we have lost touch with each other. I don’t like that, and I won’t do that. I won’t succumb. My
DMs are always open to fellow creators. I am always down to chat about the business of words, and all I really want is a few folks who feel the same.