My number 1 favorite thing about residency is that I get to spend a week not explaining myself or enduring weird faces from people because all the other humans there are precisely my sort of weird/neurotic/thinky.
A close second, however, is that a lot of people there call me April Line.
I have a really cool name for a writer. Perfect, even. It’s as if my parents knew. Hell, maybe they did.
And then there’s the pursuant wordplay: April Line, you so fine; April Line, where’s my wine? Of course, I am in a tribe of people who, like me, enjoy the sounds words make when they scrape across tongues. We enjoy rhyme for its own sake. We slide words together in lines because they are fun, because of the sounds, because because words. The words do not have to be true. I am not fine in an objective sense nor do I make a habit of fetching wine.
My favorite thing since I got home? The thing that gives me more joy even than particularly delicious beer, running, or good food?
My Writing Workshop, the first of which happened last night. I met a new student. I had an hour of that lovely thing where I can talk about being a writer like it’s normal. I can explain to people who get it about the weird writer brain thing. I can help them cultivate their own, give them guidance for how to overcome their inner critic, I can talk about all the articles I read about writing and writers to people who are interested.
I am knowledgeable and there’s huge power in knowledge. It’s energizing. I got home feeling excited and light and right.
It is micro-residency. It is how I’m sure I want to be a writing teacher forever. Because to teach writing is to always have a way into that world, the world where I’m not just a loon who has a big vocabulary.
Come join the tribe. The workshops are fun and affordable.
My blog is my favorite thing about my professional life.
I’m always reading about ways to do it better, and there’s a huge concensus among people who give blogging advice that monetizing a blog–unless you are John Grisham–is probably more hassle than it’s worth.
Last night, via Twitter, I found Pushing Social, which offers a lot of different thinking and advice about using your blog to monetize yourself. Which is a beast of a different color than click revenue and ads from your blog, which is distinct from yourself (hopefully).
One of the reasons I love my blog so hard is that it’s a whooole lot of work for no money. I have a deeply ingrained sense that I am not good enough, or that there’s no honor, in being fairly compensated for my work. More on this in a moment.
I am compensated by my blog, however, in more real ways than I am by some of my clients. My blog forages connections, gives me an audience, and loads of affirmation.
The Origin of Self Worth
The sense that I am somehow less worthy than others as/less talented and dedicated than I am comes to me from the way I have watched my dad, who is a legitimately, maybe even exceptionally, swell, smart man, toil for his entire life for far, far less than he is worth.
I have seen him put in 80-100 hour work weeks and live a very middle-class life. I have seen him buy a car for $100, put 10 hours of work and $50 in it, and sell it to some sod with a sad tale for $200.
My dad enjoys these arrangements in which he rips himself off because it makes him feel like a good person. I have heard him say gleefully, “Yeah, but that’s $50 bucks I didn’t have before, and I helped someone out, it’s a win-win!” Yeah, dad. And at least three evenings with your family and a Saturday afternoon you didn’t have, too.
As a person in my dad’s family, I have often been on the short end of his work-for-too-little-money-and-moral-affirmation stick.
I watched him buy a falling-down house for $40,000, dump $20,000 plus a half a year’s worth of sweat into it, and sell it in a private sale less than a decade later for only $80,000. (This was when the real estate market was in full boom, back in the early 2000s–the house was a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, cavernous, old house: when he bought it, it was uninhabitable).
I’m starting to see that my dad is pissed about taxes and does stuff to “keep Uncle Sam’s hand out of his pocket” because he has, actively and persistently, undervalued his own worth. He has–for lack of a better way to put it–fucked himself over. People with enough money to live and retire don’t mind paying taxes.
A cynical, but amusing, aside
This is why–contrary to logic–middle class folks tend to vote republican. They want to keep more of their money. They also apparently tend to equate moral, religious, and philosophical issues with politics, which is why the republicans are currently spewing hate speak all over women who use birth control instead of telling us what they’re going to do about the absurd educational system.
Recently, I’ve started to notice about myself that I mimic some of my dad’s patterns with regard to my life as a freelancer. I have a ridiculous tendency to get involved in doing stuff I love and believe in for free or for such a pitiable sum, that I have no time left to find work that pays me–not just enough to live–but what I am worth.
Now, I’m not a hotshot multiply published author with a personal assistant. But I’m an excellent writer with a constantly growing body of published work, a blog that people like and read, and half a novel written in my head, while only a tenth of it lives in Word. If I keep doing as my dad does, I will never get to hotshot author with personal assistant land. I will never make six figures a year.
Hate me if you want to, but I want that. I want to have too much money. I have lots of ideas about good things to do with a surplus of money, but for now, I just want to be able to pay my bills on time every month.
As a writer, the sense that I’m not good enough keeps me striving, working, sanding my nose down. So don’t worry. I will keep blogging, and as far as the content of my posts, you probably won’t notice much difference.
You will notice, however, that I will offer products and services more aggressively in my sidebar. And if you’re here reading this now, it’s because you think I have excellent things to say or get another kind of value out of this blog, and you won’t mind. Maybe you’ll even pick up my guide about starting a writers’ group, or scoop up a mini writing course for $10.00.
For the time being, I’ll be avoiding banner ads (like from Adsense through Google) and affiliate linking (as through Amazon).
For today: Maybe you noticed, my Workshops Tab is back above. Please click it and check out the courses through Penn College. These are less costly than the ones I could offer at the Pajama Factory.
And don’t forget, too, that I’m a professional writer and editor, so if you dig my advice or my writing, maybe you want to hire me. For what I am worth.