Friday, May 17, 2013

GoFundMe update #1

For those that don't know, I'm currently in the middle of GoFundMe campaign to raise the necessary funds to both do my job (edit, write, create things, teach about doing all of that) and pay my bills. It's going well, I'm 44.57% to my goal at the time of this writing. And I wanted to talk today about my experiences so far.

It's not been easy asking for this help. There's something about asking for money or work that has always been somewhat of an obstacle for me. It provokes feelings of inadequacy, it creates nagging thoughts that maybe if I studied harder or wasn't so sick for a decade that I could have landed a lucrative job somewhere and would be well onto a marriage and kids by now or something. But for every thought that I've missed something, I'm reminded of what I have instead - an incredibly loving and supportive relationship, some of the best friends imaginable and the unbelievable opportunities to help so many people accomplish such diverse dreams.

I'm humbled by the kindness of others. I'm an editor mostly, sometimes I help flesh out ideas, but frequently, it's an uncredited job. Sure, my name ends up in the book somewhere, but it seldom gets attention. So when you look at the number of things I've done (you did see the addition of the new buttons above, yes?), even with a good resume of things, I can sometimes feel like a ghost, phasing in and out of projects at specific points, otherwise overlooked. Some people have taken to calling editing or development, "the kingmaker" job, as I get to empower people behind the scenes, but the Machiavellian overtones too easily inflame my ego. So, feeling as a ghost, I don't expect to get much notice. And in asking for help, I didn't expect a lot of response.

But the response came in and has overwhelmed me. I refresh the site with tears in my eyes, so deeply moved by everyone's generosity. I do my best to pen quick thank you notes to every supporter, but saying "thank you" seems to pale in comparison to how giving people are.  I am blown away that so quickly I'm nearly halfway to my goal of a feasible, almost comfortable summer season of work, travel and finances.

Thank you, again, everyone who has so lovingly, so encouragingly helped make this a reality for me.

The honesty pays off. Especially in matters of money, I really feel the need to disclose how the money is going to be spent. There may be the notion that as an adult, I don't need to explain myself to others, but here, when so many people have offered help, I want them to know that this money isn't going to be wasted on empanadas, video games and books. I won't breakdown every dollar, but here are the broad brushstrokes.

$1560 (the total raised as of the writing of this post) breaks down into:

  • $660 for insurance and pills (1 month insurance, 4 months pills)
  • $450 flight to WyrdCon in California
  • $250 my portion of a hotel room at GenCon
  • $200 "social" expenses (gas, travel costs, food)
I would love to see the "social" expenses part fatten up. But there are more immediate priorities, like meals at conventions, more insurance payments, taxes and other bill. As the GoFundMe increases, I expect to see more things become affordable to me. 

It's good to work. For many of you reading this, you didn't make financial contributions. Instead, you've gone one better and either paid me for work I've done, or given me more paying work to do, for those down times between convention weeks. And to all of you, thank you. Your checks and payments help knock down these walls of anxiety about affording things, and give me a little breathing room about staying in the industry. I can't say that I'm at a point where I won't need a day job, but I can tell you the need to run out and get one has been pushed back at least until late September, if I'm prudent. And I plan to be prudent.

Also, this new batch of work is new material, projects I've never done before, and their challenges motivate me to really work hard and do awesome things. 

The future is scary, but I'm not alone. There's a lot of change on the horizon for me. Some is emotional, which I won't share here, some is professional, which I'll talk about throughout the summer, some is mental, which I'll definitely dive into here. I don't know, honestly, how any of these things are going to turn out, but for the first time in my life, I'm not assuming the worst about several of these big changes. To me, that's a substantial victory compared to many years where a negative expectation led to pre-emptive sabotage and I was ultimately left without the thing I was afraid of losing in the first place. Not this time. I don't know what things are going to look like, but I feel like I can handle them. Maybe not perfectly. Maybe not without stress. But I *can* handle them. And that's because I have so many people I can turn to, talk to, share thoughts with, express myself and be myself with. I am not on some island, marooned for all eternity. This is my life, and it touches others just as they touch mine. 

I wrap this post up with a few statements, and a request that you, whoever you are, help me remember them, whenever you see me forgetting them. Tell me on Twitter. Leave me a Facebook message. Write me an email. I want you to catch me. I want you to speak up when you see it happening. Please.

  1. One day at a time. Today is a whole day, and a whole experience and while I can plan for tomorrow to a degree, I won't know how tomorrow is until I get there. 
  2. It's not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, but there's always a silver lining, something to do to make things better and a way to work through the hard parts.
  3. Talking is preferable to silence. Bottling things up leads to not-good places, decisions and actions.
  4. Budgeting is scary, but a reality. I will get better at it over time. With practice. With discipline. 

Thank you so much for reading this. I hope your weekends are excellent, your writing goes well and that you share good times with good people.