Friday, January 19, 2018

News and Patronage

So far, I've accumulated eight guests for my podcast, expressing various concerns about what they can meaningfully say that will be useful for listeners.  I take this as a good sign.  We're replete with "experts."  We can use some people expressing doubt.

I'm thinking now that my best course will be to put together 10-13 podcasts (13 would be ideal), then call that a season and take three months off, then do it again.  Two seasons a year, for 13 episodes a season, would be my target.

But of course I have yet to do an interview.  I'm gathering together my resources, fermenting my mind on the general concept and waiting for inspiration.  That is what I do a great deal: wait for inspiration.

Yesterday, I restarted the Juvenis campaign.  It will probably be a slow start; I work inconsistent days and half days Monday to Thursday, limiting my involvement to the afternoon and evening, while Fridays, the day I'm sure to get off, always were pretty slow for the gang.  So, the campaign will likely crawl along, until my situation changes.  Still, it is good to be running online again.  I get a kick out of it.

I've updated a load of maps on the wiki, those with A, B or C in the file names, work that I've been grinding at for months and months now.  I found there were some shortcomings, too, on the map files for those who have donated sufficiently to my Patreon, which I've corrected.  If you're a contributor, have a look at the private map files also. The most recent two that I've updated are Brittania and Germania.  There are some considerable aesthetic additions to these maps, along these lines.

Let's see, what else?  I recently got into an argument on Twitter about artists being paid for their work.  The position I argued against is a common maxim posed by university and post-secondary trained artists, who are propagandized to "Never, ever, ever, work for free for anyone ever, period."  The agenda behind this is plain and obvious to every creative soul in every field:  established artists, particularly established artists dependent on grants for survival, don't want the competition.  The maxim is always presented as something that is in YOUR personal interest, if you are an artist, but it is really just speaking from fear.

It is, of course, ridiculous.  I'm creating right now, for free.  So are millions of other people, because they enjoy creating and because they don't expect to be paid for it anyway.  Of course, I'd like to be paid, and in a greater sense my readers do pay me, regularly, because they appreciate what I do.  But this has nothing to do with how much content I choose to produce, because I love producing and sometimes have to restrain myself from doing so.  This is a blog with too many words and I'm always ready to add more.

Those artists who most pitch the "Don't Work For Free" belief are almost always static visual artists ~ either painters or graphic artists ~ coming from a very specific institutional framework, usually an art school.  And such people look down on writers, they always have.  We are the scum of the art field, usually because to get into the field of writing, writing for free is the only method.  Long, long before we can expect a publisher to print us, it is necessary to enter non-paying writing competitions as early as elementary schools, followed by hundreds of hours writing plays and scripts for high school drama departments (because there is no writer-arts department), followed by writing anything and everything in an attempt to get noticed.  So being told, "Don't write for free," sounds like the spastic grunts of a pig caught between the stiles of its pen.

Of course, by the time we are paid (and I've enjoyed steady work at 30 cents a word, which would make this free blog worth $750,000), writing is easy.  The computer forms the letters for me, requiring no physical skills whatsoever, while thinking and writing become pretty much the same process.  Which is why painters don't think of us as "real artists."

Anyway, I got some peeps angry with me about this, but no never mind.  The thing that has to be remembered about making any sort of creative thing is that making it is more important than being paid for it.  If no one is paying you, make it anyway, because what you'll learn through making and problem solving is more valuable to you than steadfastly refusing to work because there's no paycheque.

Moreover, working for free enables mutual collaboration with other artists at your own level, where neither of you expect to be paid right now.  It makes for contacts in the future, opportunities, gained skill in dealing with others and getting to feel your own voice without training yourself to be a slave to someone with a wallet.  That's the worst thing about being creative and in someone else's pocket; you can't speak your mind, because there's always the chance that causing offense will make the money go away.

Work.  That's the only thing that matters.  In this fabulous age, with the internet, with direct contact with the customer, with hundreds of conventions that will let you sell in real time, with Patreon and other like sights, the world has never been friendlier for the Do-It-Yourself Artist.  Believe me, I grew up in a time where the doors were all closed, all the time.

The only thing standing between you right now and getting your art and your message to a friendly, supportive audience is how many skills you have, against how many you'll have to pay for.  Learn to lay out your product, learn how to sell, learn how to write a blurb, learn how to page design, learn how to draw or copyread or edit.  Learn.  You may be awful at it to begin with; look at me, I still have many shortcomings.  But if you pitch and try and rework, things get better and better, you get smarter and smarter, your work develops, you gain confidence and in the end, you don't need anyone.

You are your own Patron.