That’s a leap I have not yet decided to risk.
On Thursday I learned that Amazon is decimating the Associates program and therefore decimating the monthly income of this blog. It may have been inevitable, but nobody saw it coming right now.
You guys jumped in to make sure that February, the last month of the old program, went out with a bang. A thousand thank yous for that.
But that still left me with decisions to make. About this blog. About earning a living. About whether to go ahead with planned projects.
It was easy to decide about planned projects.
Foundation work on the house? Yep, gotta do that. Most of the money is already set aside from last year’s fundraiser and if I don’t fix the foundation now it’s only going to deteriorate and become a bigger problem. Economizer: instead of The Wandering Monk bringing a minion to assist him … I’ll be the minion. Never worked on a foundation before. First time for everything. I do own and know how to operate 20-ton hydraulic jacks, though. And I’m a decent gofer.
Old Blue’s transmission? Nope. I’m doing fine on foot. I’ll keep Old Blue for emergencies. Economizer: No big repair costs, no car insurance, no gas, no little impulse spendings while cruising around town.
Summer icon-painting workshop? Yes. Never mind that in all practical terms it makes no sense. It never did make mundane sense. But this I must do. Commentariat member D. set my foot on the path and J. paved the next steps. I’ll probably sell some unused possessions to finance the rest. Economizer: None. But my spirit will be richer.
Easy decisions all.
The earning a living part? That’s been … revelatory. I’ve thought of everything from setting up a Patreon account for the blog to grading SAT essays online to other affiliate programs besides Amazon, to … well, lots of possibilities. Two friends have offered opportunities.
And although I’ve looked into a few, I’ve had the same strong, visceral reaction to almost everything: NO.
No no no nononononononononNONONONONONONOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
I tell myself be practical. I tell myself thus-and-such suggestion is a good idea. I tell myself be grateful for such good friends. I tell myself idiot, you HAVE to earn a freakin’ living!
My soul screams back at me Noooooooooooooooooo!!! Do NOT go in that direction!
And although the parental voice inside my head admonishes that I must be practical, that I must resist slothfulness (that deadly sin!) … the soul voice cries a clear warning: Do not go that way.
I’ve reacted to several “good” suggestions with such visceral revulsion that I fear friends may have felt I was slapping them in the face.
The truth is that while I could no more stop writing than I could stop breathing and still consider myself alive, it’s time for me to quit trying to earn a living as a writer. Or doing anything else online, networked, outward-focused, news-oriented, or public. For a living.
Right now I’d rather walk down to the local motel and clean toilets than earn my keep in the world of bits and bytes and politics and noise.
But … erm. I’d also rather not clean toilets. So I turn inward seeking alternatives.
Finally, about the blog:
I don’t know. Not wanting to earn a living as a writer for the rest of my days doesn’t mean I don’t want to write (and gratefully accept whatever you choose to send via Amazon commissions, donations, or Cabal memberships).
This blog is not just a way to gather shekels. This blog is my link to you — my community, my friends, my family-from-a-host-of-different-mothers. This blog is important to me and, I hope, useful to you. And fun.
It’s just that Backwoods Home first and Amazon now have informed me it’s a lousy way to earn a living. Even a supplementary living. Even on my smallish scale. And though your generosity has been enormous, I am uncomfortable soliciting it. I don’t want to hold another fundraiser and I don’t intend to do that, barring some serious emergency.
For now, I’ll probably blog a little less, but I’ll postpone any Big Decisions about the blog until at least June. Once I stop thinking of blogging as my work, I’ll see it in a different light. There’s a possibility that I’ve said all I have to say and will want to leave the blog behind. There’s also a possibility that the blog will absorb some new purpose. Also a possibility I’ll blog just for fun. Please be patient.
I don’t believe in gods or goddesses or that literal Fates are weaving away at life. I don’t believe (though I may metaphorically say) that The Universe, in some New Age sense, sends conscious messages.
I do believe that sometimes The Universe (that handy metaphor) delivers messages that heart and soul must heed. In the last year said Universe has been trying valiantly, if often unpleasantly, to tell me something.
My practical side — my brain and all the Protestant and Prussian messages planted in it from birth and through orderly government schooling — has been ignoring that “something.”
A body can go on existing, breathing, and functioning while ignoring Messages from the Gods. But a person risks not really living.
I’ve said before that my biggest mistake at times of major life change is that I’ve failed to go far enough. I’ve always kept some safety valve at hand, always left an escape route from the “impractical” choices I’ve felt called to make, always kept a hand on the practicality lever. Practical, practical, practical. Protestant, Prussian, and prudent.
Not this time.
I don’t know where I’m going. I just know I have to set foot on the path and quit thinking about whether it’s the most sensible route to take.