| Jay wrote me to ask where I've been, so I figured I'd give everyone an explanation. I have been thinking about writing a blog post on this anyway, so I guess I will.
Where've I been? I've been broke and trying to make money, that's where I've been. I've set up a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo because - as you'll understand once you read on - there's pretty much no way I can finish my book without help.
I rely nearly entirely on freelance writing for my income, and publications differ in their speediness in publishing articles and paying their writers. Every month, my job is to balance the amount of work I do with the number of paychecks that arrive. This month, that just collapsed.
One publication's behind on its payments, another one pays monthly and they'll pay for my January work in February, and another had a question about my check so they put my invoice in a queue of items to follow-up on for a few weeks until I asked them about it. Yet another piece I wrote was for an editor who got seriously ill and spent more than a month out of work as a result. She's still catching up on her work, and she hasn't had time to edit and publish my piece yet - or pay me for it.
That left me broke and scrambling. At one point, a week or so ago, I had $20 in my bank account and nothing in my wallet. Thank god I know how to recognize edible weeds and all of my friends know how to grow food. I helped myself to edible weeds in my ex's yard, and a very kind friend gave me a little of everything she had growing in her garden. I wish she grew rent and gas, but sadly all she had was chard, apples, carrots, eggs, and some really fantastic citrus. I have such great friends!
Growing, foraging, and cooking food is SUCH an amazing survival skill. I've been reflecting on that all week. When I ran out of cash, I wasn't entirely out of food. I was just out of several foods and food groups. No yogurt, no oats, no veggies, no fruit, no nuts or nut butters. If it weren't for my friends, I would've had nothing but grains and beans to eat.
A few checks have arrived, and I'm OK for now. Sort of. If I pay my February rent and other January bills, I can't afford my car registration. So that will wait and let's hope I don't get pulled over. And as soon as the February bills come in, the crisis begins anew. So I've been working my tail off, writing articles for publications that pay their writers quickly and looking for more stories to pitch. Needless to say, I haven't been doing much blogging.
In the meantime, I'm supposed to be writing a book. My book publication date has been pushed back, and I'm re-writing an awful lot of it to make it shorter, more focused, and better organized. It'll be a better book in the end, and I'm excited about it. But I've got no time to write if I'm spending all of my time trying to get paid.
Throughout the time I've worked on this book, my editor's suggested setting up a fundraising campaign many times and I've resisted. In theory, I should be able to earn enough money to make this work. I kept pushing myself. If I could just work harder, break into writing for more publications, write for publications that paid me more per article... I should be able to make enough money. I shouldn't have to ask anyone for help.
But clearly, that's not the case. So I've finally set up a page on Indiegogo, here to see if I could raise the money needed to finish the book. This will give me enough money to finish writing the book instead of doing paying work for a few months and it will also pay off some of the debt I've incurred for the research travel required for the book. Once the book's done, I'll receive a bit more of my advance and that should cover most of the rest of my research travel debt. I don't expect to make money on this book, but I also can't afford to have more weeks like this one because of it.