Time is money.
Here’s my situation. I have a day job, most of the time. It’s a lot of fun, but the area I work in (I teach English in a private language school) means that I don’t have work all year round and my income, while mostly sufficient to get by, is neither massive nor reliable. I never know how many hours I’ll be working or how much money I’ll be getting month-to-month. This means that I don’t really have a choice but to always prioritise teaching for as many hours as I can, when I can, because I simply don’t know if I’ll be working at all next month. The rent’s gotta be paid. Everything else takes second place.
Because writing has always been something I do more or less for free (FtB does pay a little ad revenue, but it’s not going to pay the bills), that means that it has to spend a lot of time on the back-burner. Right now I simply can’t afford to write as many posts or on as many topics as I’d like to.
This is, frankly, pants. There are so many things I want to write about here and a embarrassingly massive drafts folder full of things that I don’t have time to give justice to.
And that’s not all. As I’ve mentioned many times before, last November I founded the Bi+ Ireland Network, which has grown in less than a year to a group with almost 180 members from all over the country, a public presence that’s been noticed by loads of Ireland’s LGBT organisations, meetups in several different cities, and even some media representation– all of which has been done with precisely zero budget. This group has so much potential to become something even more, if there were only more time and resources. I want to create more spaces, to grow this network and do something about the crushing erasure and exclusion people are facing here.
And even that’s not all. Last year I ran a workshop at a student conference on creating consent cultures. What happened in that workshop made it incredibly clear to me that we need consent education in our universities and colleges- we need to teach people what it means and how we can incorporate it into our lives. I want to do that, and to do so I need time.
And there’s more, and more, and even more.
I would like your support
I haven’t ever really asked for money on an ongoing basis for the work I do in any of those spaces. In a way it’s because it feels so embarrassing to ask, doesn’t it? Isn’t it screwed up, though, that we see demanding money in return for something you would otherwise withhold- charging for something- as laudable, and yet simply asking for it in return for something you will provide anyway is seen as far less respectable?
The work I do for money absolutely has value- people leave my classroom a little bit more able to communicate in this language than they entered it in the morning, and that is one hell of a lovely thing. But I believe that any of the other work that I do- either here on the blog, or in creating and maintaining communities where none were before, or in the workshops I run and the ones I’d love to develop- is also valuable.
And it is work. Work that I want to develop. Work I want to do more of. And work that I really want to help to pay at least some of my bills. I don’t want my work to be anything other then freely available. But I would love if those of you with the ability and inclination could support this work that I do, so I can do more of it.
Here is what I would love: I would love to know each month what I have to work with. While once-off donations are marvellously appreciated, I would appreciate even more if some of you chose to subscribe to support me and my work. A smaller amount every month would go a long way towards that security that would allow me the freedom to prioritise this work, instead of constantly having to leave it in second place.
How and Why?
I’ve spent some time researching different options for this, and have decided that for now at least, instead of working with a fundraising site like Patreon, I’m going to go the simpler route of advertising the presence of my Paypal once-off donation and monthly subscription buttons. There are two major reasons for this:
- Patreon and similar sites encourage you to have subscriber-only content. I don’t want to put anything behind a paywall. I want the work I do to be accessible to as many people as possible, whether or not they can pay for it. I’ve spent enough of my own time too broke to financially support the people whose work I follow- I’m not going to penalise anyone else for that.
- Privacy. Again, fundraising sites tell you who is donating and how much, and how much a person receives every month. Maybe it’s an Irish thing, maybe it’s my being an only child, or maybe just a personal quirk- but that feels to me like the online equivalent of a live webcam of my laundry or the inside of my sock drawer. To be blunt, it squicks me out, and I strongly believe that sharing writing or other creative work is not an abdication of one’s right to privacy. This also feels a lot to me like justifying asking for support. I don’t think someone should have to be on the verge of starvation before it becomes okay to support their work. It’s always okay.
I can’t afford to support you with delicious eurodollars, is there anything I can do?
Of course! I’m in a rather similar boat myself at the moment. Financial support is marvellous but so is everything else you lovely readers do. So keep commenting and keep linking to the Tea Cosy. I appreciate it all. A lot.
But you’ll give us something back, right?
In the long run, having financial support from my readers will mean more and better-researched articles covering more topics in more depth. I’ll also update you all regularly on how this is going- while I am squicked out by sharing exact numbers, I’m only too happy to talk in general about what this means practically in my life.
In the short run, supporters will have two things: my genuine appreciation, and the opportunity to ask me to blog on a topic they choose. This will be up for discussion between us, but if there’s a burning question you’ve always wanted me to talk about? Now you can make it happen.
And that’s it.