Thursday, January 5, 2017

Donation Drive

As previously noted, every once in a while I have to ask for money.

Having given up military consulting work and having shut down my woodworking business and art studio (hopefully temporarily) when I left Alaska, I subsist for the moment solely on income derived from my social media sites and this blog.

A few years back, I wouldn’t have believed this possible.

A few years back it wouldn’t have been possible.

But despite the sneering complaints of certain vocal critics, it is possible for a writer to make a reasonably decent living this way.

Yes, writer.

It used to be “writer” was defined as somebody who assembled words and ideas into books, short stories, articles, and perhaps screenplays, fact or fiction, and submitted those efforts via various means to editors at publishing houses or various presses or various media outlets, and then lived on cheese sandwiches hoping a check of some modest amount would come back. Traditionally the profession of “writer” meant you repeated this cycle without healthcare or adequate hygiene or presentable clothes until you died, or gave it up for a real job. 

That model, that definition of writer, still very much exists.

And a lot of writers make varying degrees of living from it.

If you’re a Stephen King or a John Scalzi, you might make millions and live in a golden mansion high on a landscaped hill in the middle of a private island waited on hand and foot by an army of nubile olive-pitters (this is totally true and I heard it directly from one of George R.R. Martin’s gardeners). But more likely you’re a stringer for the local paper, and you might make enough to buy a cheese sandwich or two providing you’re not particular about the definition of “cheese” or those weird green spots on the bread.

Various degrees of success exist between those poles.

Me? I wanted to be a writer since I was kid. It’s a sickness, writing. A weird mental disorder that makes you sit in front of a keyboard for hours, daydreaming and playing with ideas and wondering why anybody would read the blather on the screen. But my grandmother gave me a Hardy Boys book (#8; The Mystery of Cabin Island) for Christmas one year when I was about 8 or 9. I’d been an indifferent reader up to that point, but that book captivated me and my lifelong obsession with words began right there. Somewhere shortly thereafter, in a staggering moment of epiphany, I realized there were actually people out there who got paid to sit in front of a keyboard and daydream and those people didn’t have to put on pants every day. Hell they might not even own actual pants – unless you consider pajamas legitimate work apparel.

I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.

I’d always intended to go the traditional route, cheese sandwiches and all.

I’d never intended to write about politics. But evidence would suggest that’s where my talent lies – if you’re charitable and agree that it is indeed an actual talent and not just something you could train a chimpanzee to do (they taught ‘em to fly spaceships, so I imagine political pundit wouldn’t be that difficult).

But by the time I was free to write what I wanted (upon my retirement from the military) and I started writing in earnest with the idea that someday somebody would give me actual money for it, the world had changed. How we connect to it had changed and continues to evolve at a rapid pace and a new type of “writer” became possible – well maybe not new new, but perhaps a more modern version of the political broadsides and pamphlets penned by the likes of Thomas Paine.

It’s amazing to me how fast this has gone.

Ten years ago, hell five years ago, I would never have guessed that Facebook would become my primary platform for day to day short form.  Facebook is a horrible platform for the kinds of things I write. It’s a bastard cross between a blog and public forum and doesn’t do either very well. It’s subject to arbitrary and random censorship. There’s no protection for intellectual property at all. It lacks the most basic of editing tools and formatting functions, its search capability is ridiculous and all but useless. Facebook’s interface, timeline management, and display are one of the single most infuriatingly horrible experiences in an age of limitless customization – limitless to everybody but Facebook users that is. It’s impossible to get any kind of help from the operators and it’s subject to every kind of cyber-abuse from bullying to trolling to sexual assault.

And yet – and yet -- it does one thing very, very well.

It does one thing that other technology cannot do, that traditional publishing venues cannot do.

Facebook connects writers to people in an organic, viral, geometrically expanding manner that is completely impossible anywhere else. 

Now, interacting with readers on a real time basis for hours upon hours every single goddamned day isn’t for every writer. It takes a certain degree of masochism to do it.

In point of fact, a lot of writers become writers because they are anti-social bastards who enjoy living on moldy fake-cheese sandwiches and sitting around all day in dirty pajama pants and who tend to break out in a cold sweat when they actually have to put on pants and go outside where all the other people are.

So real time interaction with their audience isn’t something they consider a feature.

And that’s okay. “Writer” is a loose enough definition that it accommodates the gregarious right alongside the hermit. 

But, if you write well, if you write the things people are interested in, and if you’re willing to interact with your audience directly and in real time, then Facebook (and to a lesser extent other social media platforms) makes it possible for your work to spread far beyond the size of audiences normally available to traditional writers. For example: Two years ago, when I started doing this full time, Stonekettle Station averaged maybe 20,000 visitors per month – and that was after 8 years of writing every single day.  Maybe 3,000 people followed me on Facebook.

Two years later, with some considerable effort, my daily Facebook audience exceeds 100,000 people and a single long form essay on Stonekettle Station can exceed 60,000 unique pageviews in a few hours.

Social media, for all its ills, has created new opportunity, an alternative to traditional writing models. Not a replacement, a supplement.

And that’s where I ended up.

I admit that in my case there is some degree of luck. I happened to be in the right place just as opportunity opened with the right experience and skillset and enough free time to take advantage of it.  It suits me. It’s not easy. Really it’s not. It sometimes (often) takes 14 to 18 hour days, research, writing, swearing at the screen, it can be incredibly frustrating at times for reasons you never imagine or anticipate. It requires constant attention, a constant presence, and everything becomes grist for the mill, making much of your life public – something that is often less than thrilling to your spouse.

It’s work.

And it is … writing.

I’ve had a number of critics scream at me, you’re not a real writer! Well, okay. Fair enough. I’m not particularly put out by that and I’m willing to go with whatever description you want to call it.  Sincerely.

But what do you call it?

I sometimes crank out a quarter million words in a month for a dedicated audience larger than that of many successful novelists. Hell, news sites steal my work on nearly a daily basis, and publish my stuff as their own for profit – that’s got to mean something, right? Now, I’m willing to accept any label you want to slap on that, but before you do, I’d like to suggest you try it. Start a blog, social media sites, assemble words every day, build an audience without gimmicks or tricks solely on the basis of what you write, and then tell me what you call that effort.

As a cautionary note: no matter what you call yourself, no matter how much adoring admiration you manage to inspire in your audience, no matter how many people send you fan mail and messages of respect, no matter how successful you eventually manage to be and how full of yourself you become as a result, your family and friends still think you’re a putz and remind you of it as often as possible.  Ideally this keeps you grounded and from turning into a complete ass. Ideally.

And everyday, every single day, no matter how well you’ve done, everyday, you’re sure that’ll be the day it all falls apart and you’ll have to go get a real job again.

I’ve been invited to a number of writer’s conventions to talk about this with other writers – or those who want to become writers under this new paradigm. That’s something I’m happy to do. I’ve been pretty lucky and I’m glad to pay that forward. The world is a big place, there’s plenty of room for many, many more writers – or whatever you call ‘em – in this new arena. More on that as plans firm up.

But, here’s the downside – or at least the part I like least.

Every once in a while I need to ask for money. 

I don’t like this. I really don’t like this. I don’t like asking for money.

I’m getting more used it, especially since it doesn’t seem to bother readers at all – well except for that one guy who shows up periodically to call me names and generally make an ass of himself. But ideally, I write something and if you like it enough, you’ll kick in.  And thankfully, you do so often enough that I can mostly survive on that part. Mostly, but not quite. 

So when I began this I found a way to assuage my conscience.

Any subscriber who donates any amount via the donation button or as a Patreon during the period of January 1st to February 8th will be put in the running for a giveaway, one of my high-end handmade art pieces worth several hundred dollars.

Winners will be announced February 15th, 2017.

To donate, click on the “Donation” button on the upper right side of this screen and follow the directions or click on the Patreon link for additional options.

Edit: Readers viewing Stonekettle Station on mobile devices sometimes can’t see the side-bar. As such, I’m attempting to embed the donate function code here in the text.
It appears to be working.

End edit.

You may enter more than once. Each donation will be counted as a unique subscription.

If you’ve already donated to Stonekettle Station this month, you’re already on the subscription list.

Those of you who already donate via an automatic monthly payment, you’ll be entered automatically in the giveaway. 

I’ve discovered that winners sometimes, often it seems, do not want their names made public. I’d like to tell readers who got the various art pieces, but if you want your name kept private I will certainly do so. Last time I did this, the first person I selected to receive a prize refused because they lived on a boat and had no room for addition items. The alternate also refused for personal reasons and requested that the artwork go instead to a charity for auction to raise money for a cause important to them. They wanted it kept anonymous. So, that I did. I will honor any reasonable request when it comes to such things.

Legal Disclaimer: To be clear, this is not a lottery or a raffle.  Donations are voluntary subscription fees specifically in support of this blog and the associated social media feeds and conducted in accordance with state and federal requirements.

That is:  you’re paying for content not a chance to win something.

I am not claiming any tax-exempt status or charity. Donations are considered business income and I pay all applicable state and federal taxes on that income and I have the records to prove it.

The items I give away are my artwork, created and paid for by me.  As such I chose to randomly give them away to supporters, just as I gave away my custom made pens to my fellow writers.  The giveaway list is generated from voluntary subscriptions, since I have no other way to determine who readers are.  You are not donating for a chance to win a prize, you’re paying for the content of this blog and my associated social media feeds and I’m using this opportunity to give something back other than just my usual blog essays, Facebook posts, and Tweets.

As always, thank you for your support.


  1. It pleases me to no end to support you in this endeavor. As a monthly subscriber since some point in time before you set up that Patreon thing (time is a human construct that often confounds me), I'm curious about which platform is better for you (however you want to define "better"). I've switched just about all my Support of Artist Type Folks over to Patreon, which is nice for consolidation and budgeting purposes. But if PayPal is better for ya, or if makes no never mind, I probably shouldn't try to fix what ain't broken. (Dang, which character is stuck in my head to get me talking like that? Whoever it is, GO BACK TO SLEEP!!)

  2. I'm glad to provide support. Keep writing--you're goddamn good at, and if you were to collect all your essays into a book, well, I'd go buy that too. (I know it's not that easy, you'd probably need to find an agent who'd sell this to the publishing company, and so on. I have a friend who's a science fiction writer, and I won't go into what her publishing company told her when they decided not to publicize her books any more, the jerks.) Well, now I'm babbling, so I'll shut it.

    Oh--this is going to use my Google name, which is Wolfbitch. My real human name is Anne V. Sutton. I should probably switch that Google name so the world will be fooled into thinking I'm a grown-up.

  3. Well- if cheese sammiches help keep you writing like you do,have a couple on me.
    Sure enjoy your work- thanks.

  4. Ever since I stumbled onto your blog (Thanks Jeanne Devon) some years ago, I have enjoyed reading what you have cared enough to post on your blog and on Facebook. So, while it may bother you to have to ask for donations, it has been my pleasure to have a part in contributing to the continuation of your writing.

    Wow, that's stilted, isn't it? What I really want to say is thank you very much and keep up the good work. I'll keep looking forward to each entry.

  5. I love your work, but unfortunately I am not able to help financially at this time. I want to thank you for letting me read you posts at no charge for now. Once I get back on my feet I will gladly to contribute in order to read your posts. They're one of the few things that make me feel like the America I grew up believing in is still here. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your writing so much. Thanks for all you're doing.

  6. I'd be privileged to support what you do, Jim. As someone already said, you're damn good at it. Keep your chin up and your fingers pecking at the keyboard, with a bottomless stash of whiskey and chocolate to get you through. Thank you for all that you do!

  7. Have you ever looked at Patreon? https://www.patreon.com/ A lot of podcasters use it.

    1. He's got a Patreon (it's right up there in the right-hand column). It's how I support him.

  8. Well, I'm retired, broke as hell, and can't contribute financially at this time - but hey, buddy, I'm a compulsive reader and will tell you oh hell YES you are a writer. Thank you for helping me stay sane in an age of insanity.

  9. I very much enjoy reading your essays and rants and musings. I'd love to donate but I don't see a link to donate on my phone. Do I need to be on a computer?

    1. Jim put an explanation about the donate button not always being visible on mobile near the end of his essay, it leads me to suggest that you do use your PC at the moment.

    2. Try again, tomsings. The donate link is right in the middle of Jim's post...... and I'm telling you that from my phone.

  10. I thoroughly enjoy your writing even when I don't totally agree, sometimes especially when I don't totally agree because then I have to think about what the facts are, as well as my beliefs and opinions.
    I am also of the strong opinion that work should be paid for, so I'm happy to support your blog.

  11. Discovering your work is one of the few good things that came out of 2016 for me. Thank you for every word that you write. I'm pleased to pay what I can in support of the work, and only wish I could add a ton of zeros to the end of the amount :)
    Thank you again..

  12. The ability to get my work done without actually wearing pants (not even pajama pants) is a major component of any ability I have to be actually happy as a writer and composer. I do actually own several pairs of pants, as it's a plus to be wearing such when I go to the bank, the grocery store, or the Doctor, and the shorts are handy for when I retrieve my mail.

    This desire for a pantsless existence also explains why I live in Arizona. It's much easier to be pantsless in Arizona than in Vermont, or even my native England (where I might well be found doing the Trouser Press, baby!)

  13. I have been a writer and now just rant, a lot, on facebook. I also paint, draw and knit. Why, yes, I am retired. I gave you $15. My retirement pay is not great.

  14. I found you about two months ago on a friends Facebook wall and have enjoyed every word! Now it's time to pay the therapist! Thanks for the medicine, Doc Wright!

  15. Jim, I've been following you with relish for about two years - your love of science fiction, homages to the sense of wonder we used to all share, and distaste for The Stupid -- expressed with surgical precision and/or lusty irreverence (both of which complement each other somehow) -- has become something I look forward to on a daily basis. I finally got around to returning that favor in a small way with a donation. The ways for a writer to break out these days are manifold, and your way seems as good as any. Keep at 'em, and looking forward to that first novel...or the next day's post.

  16. Thank you, Mr. Write, for doing what you do.

    I don't like to think of what we put on the Patreon to be a donation. I am not giving you anything, but am paying (what I can) for a service (that's available for free) that would lose quality and quantity if you didn't do it full time.

    Since you can't trade my and your fans' appreciation at the Winn Dixie or Publix for groceries, we'll continue to keep the Patreon account going.

  17. Thank you for doing the hard work, so we can share to others and say such profound things as "SEE!! THIS!! SO MUCH THIS!!!" I tried, as a blogger waaay back in the olden days of 2005 to become what I wanted to be; an Author (said in Molly Iven's voice = ARther) Didn't have the "sticktoitiveness". So thanks. signed/a very proud minion

  18. I expect you to help keep me somewhat sane during the next four years. That's worth a LOT! Thank you.

  19. Do you have some suggested donation amounts? E.g. if I give $10 I can call myself a "supporter", $25 makes me a "patron", $38.27 makes me a "mensch", $98.36 makes me a "bigmouth", etc. etc.

    Also how much of a donation would I need to make to be able to comment on your facebook page?

    1. No kidding. I've been waiting for a chance to go to the inner circle for over two years. I love this man's writing, especially because I love to write and at 70 can't quite figure out how. So I thought...maybe a really small bribe, erContributionwould would at least get me noticed. I'd donate anyway, cause I know what it's like to have to ask.

  20. Excellent value. And I still treasure the (now VERY battered) lathe-turned coffee mugs you made for me; probably nothing else I own has received so much spontaneous admiration from others. I hope you get the shop up and running and can make replacements sometime soon :).

  21. You are a voice of sanity. Thank you.

  22. Donated for the first time...enough for a couple of cheese sandwiches...one of my favorite comfort foods, by the way. I follow you on Facebook and get frustrated that I can't comment but then realize that others have already expressed my thoughts better than I would have. Thanks for all your writing and the research behind it. I look forward to every post and every essay.

  23. Writer, singer, you are what you want to be if you want it enough and work at it.

    You work pretty hard at it and many many people appreciate it.


  24. Third times a charm? The last two tries have disappeared before I could make it work to publish with my name. I really should have written that password down! Will try Anonymous this time to see if it works better.
    I started supporting your writing monthly after the election, because I feel researched, reasoned voices talking truth on the internet will be sorely needed for the next four years. I am supporting you for the same reason I am continuing my NYTimes and Washington Post subscriptions. May you become as wealthy as Scalzi!

  25. Jim-

    Your writing warms me, as I so often see a set of circumstances and draw my own conclusion, then see that you have seen that same set of circumstances and come to a parallel conclusion. It's happened often enough that I call it (in my mind) "Wright There."
    Usually I seek the writings and musings of those who do not agree with me politically or culturally, because at that interface much education can be found. In your case, I feel like I'm sitting by the campfire in an old Adirondack chair with a friend, warmed by companionship and a satisfying life, sharing observations on our insane world.
    Thank you for having the courage to go out on the limb, and the integrity to sometime start sawing at that limb.
    Please keep it up.

  26. Hi! Viewing on my phone, the sidebar and donate button don't show on the page. May want to add the donate button or link to the bottom of the post. I'm not working right now, but can happily join Patreon to give you a small monthly donation that adds up over the year! I think you're great, and glad I can support.

  27. I have followed you for close to eight years. I laughed when you told stories about Stupid, cried at the death of dear Shopkat and daily recommend you to others as a voice of sanity in this insane world. I am blessed to be in fairly good financial shape so I plan to double my normal gift in thinking of those who mentioned that times were tough for them. Please keep doing what you are doing! Blessings to your family for the New Year!

  28. Looking forward to that too.

  29. Done, and thank you for your work. The constant reminder to be who we say we are is as necessary as the air we breathe.

  30. I've valued your work and opinions as an island of sanity in this world ever since I ran across your blog and FB (which I follow) a few years ago. I happily support a writer whose research I trust and therefore can feel safe sharing. (I used to vet it, but you're so consistently rationally sourced that now I just trust that you will continue to be so as a point of personal honor.) I wish I could afford more but I do support you monthly at about the cost of a trade paperback per month and stick you in my book budget. �� You're well worth it. Thank you for doing what you do. It's so important.

  31. Thank you very much for your writing, sir, and for all the time and effort you put into it. Your work is deeply appreciated by a whole bunch of folks, as is your sense of humor. :-) Cheers, Stef

  32. I appreciate seeing your work and it is very definitely writing. Some days you make me laugh, others you keep me from screaming at the lunacy I see elsewhere. Have a great year, Jim.

  33. Comment from a mobile (Android) user... Even after requesting "show desktop site" to try to find the donation button, I can't see it. 🙄

    Maybe it's the cold meds, as I'm home sick from work. OTOH, maybe it's worth checking out or putting a direct link in the text, assuming the links are currently in a sidebar?

    I'd like to donate, but can't find the place to do so. (Notifications on if you - or someone else - can point me to the donation page or want my help troubleshooting.)

  34. I finally figured out the Patreon account/pledge stuff. Not much, but a lot of little can make a lot, right? Thanks for all of your sane words.

  35. I already Patreon monthly, but I hope that a lot of others who follow your essays will also want to contribute. Even small amounts add up if there are enough of them.
    You are a vitally needed voice of sanity, crying out in an insane wilderness.

  36. You're now on my Patreon list! Keep up the good work. I sometimes wish I could comment on your FB posts, however I understand the limitations. So, keep up the good work, and don't feel bad about asking for money. People need to be able to support artists they appreciate. THANKS!

  37. Thank you so much for the hard work you do in writing these articles. Most of the time, all I can think is "YES...THIS!" as I read them. I wish I was anywhere as eloquent as you are. Please keep it up!

  38. Thank you for providing a voice of sanity in an increasingly dystopian world.

  39. You are most definitely a writer. I will gladly pay to support quality content because as you said in your post on the 2nd, "either we are the people we say we are, or we're not." It's my belief that "being the people we say we are" also includes supporting those who are willing to help light the way in this crazy time. Thanks for helping to light the way.

  40. You are apparently living the life I once dreamed of. I am envious and jealous. I have made a SMALL donation. I'm sorry it isn't and can't be more. You deserve more. I OWE you more. Please forgive my failure to live up to my obligations.

    Sorry, I'm in one of THOSE moods today. The holidays, the new year, upcoming birthday that reinforces how late it is in my life, etc. But thank you for your words, Mister Wright. I can probably never express how truly thankful I am to have found your writing and how honored I am to be a minion on FB.

  41. As memory serves (and I hope it's serving, today, since I just put the donation in yesterday) I sent a donation for "chocolate" but if you want to use it for cheese sandwiches, or a drop in the bucket called "mortgage and college fees" or what-have-you, of course it's all good. That's why it's called a donation, after all. I just wish I could send more. Don't think for one moment that I send what I think your words are worth, because whether I like it or not, I don't get paid that much. Mama gotta feed her own kids, too.

    Gretchen in KS

  42. Happy to support you.

    As an aside, Franklin W. Dixon was the pen name several writers used. The book you received for Christmas (The Mystery of Cabin Island) was written by a Canadian, Leslie McFarlane. :-)

  43. Seems only fair. I hate being a moocher, especially when being forced to think.

  44. Maybe you could also raffle the ability to be a friend through Facebook. I would like that. A. Lot.
    (I don't know why the "Comment as:" says Julia Gemstone - a nom de plume for a game guide I wrote years ago - but my real name is Cindy Morrison.)

    1. Leaving aside the part where people paying me to be my friend seems like an incredibly douchy move, there are people who've been waiting in line for more than a year. Selling spots ahead of them would be damned shitty thing to do.

      I mean, I can be a jerk, but not that much of a jerk. I hope.

    2. Just FYI, the "Comment as:" most likely defaulted to a Google account. My (rare) comments on Stonekettle show as coming from my Google+/Wordpress identity. I'm sure that setting can be changed. I'm not at all certain I know how or can explain how to go about doing that.

    3. Well damn, I made the same suggestion down below, and then discovered you'd already addressed that issue in earlier comments.

      Do you actually see friends requests in application order in Facebook? 'Cause I'm pretty sure mine is at least a year old.

      *gets giddy with anticipation! ANY DAY NOW!*

  45. Happy to support via Patreon. Appreciate the rational viewpoints, particularly when I don't always agree :)

  46. "Family and friends still think you're a putz." I could'nt help but laugh out loud. Good for them for keeping you grounded. With that said, I wish for you all the success, in what ever form you desire, as long as you stay grounded and true to self. Glad to do my bit to help!

  47. It's an honor and a privilege to read your writings and to support you as you continue. Can't wait to get notified that I won //crossing fingers// Cheers!

  48. Done. I find your essays both informative and entertaining. (And sometimes depressing...) Keep it up!

    Happy New Year from San Diego, CA.

  49. Always worthwhile to support your writing and the insight it provides. As I read today's offering, I was struck by the wish that our Dad had had such an amazing tool to offer his writing to the world. Dad ran a gas station and spent much of his day at his typewriter putting out broadsides on the political scene and the needs/plight of everyday working people. We grew up understanding the power of the pen, as his letters received responses even from FDR's office. He goaded and cajoled and encouraged. He made a difference. Your writing also makes a difference. Thank you.

  50. Has anybody ever accused you of reaching into their brains, pulling their thoughts out, and putting them on paper? :-P

    You can write (our) thoughts down as long as you want. I promise I won't complain!

    1. Everyday. One person wrote me last week to accuse me of stealing her ideas, because apparently she wrote about similar subjects -- you know, like the election which apparently nobody else thought to write about.

      Accept when I looked at her Facebook page, she never actually wrote about anything. She just reposted news stories from commercial media outlets. She also reposted my material. Every day.

      Takes all kinds, I guess.

    2. Tell her you only steal her ideas when it's time for her to put fresh tinfoil inside her cap-- it wears out after a while and her thoughts leak out such that you (and the CIA, and WikiLeaks, and the reptilians) can pick them up.

  51. Jim, I enjoy your posts and discovered you on Facebook. I'm a writer, too, so can relate to this post about the blood, sweat and tears of producing those words. No cheese sandwiches, but I'm at my computer in sweatpants, sweatshirt and house slippers. Also have to contend with cats who step on the keyboard. Ex-Navy, too, and used to live in Pensacola a long, long time ago.

  52. Jim, follow you on Facebook & Twitter constantly. You have a great gift of using common sense and logic to bring light to emotional topics. I am more than happy to lend assistance when I can.

  53. Well, hell, I always figured you were a writer, and a skilled one at that. Maybe after the Trumpocalypse King and Scalzi will accept us into their luxurious walled compounds. It doesn't hurt to hope.

  54. I've donated as well. I value your insight and your scathing commentary, though I'm often flamed for reposting your essays. Keep doing what you do - yours is a voice that needs to be heard.

  55. Jim, your writing inspires me to think outside my comfy little box--sometimes so far outside the darn box I wonder if there was ever a box to begin with. I've examined those parts of me that I *thought* I knew. Those parts of my humanity and "me-ness" that I oftentimes lost during this past election.

    And that is good.

    Your writing has made me a better "me" because you encourage us to look at situations or people in a different light. To look at ourselves in a different light, from a different angle.

    My point is this: Keep writing; your perspective is refreshingly thought-provoking!

    I will contribute in a week or so--waiting on payment from a client. Can't have you and the family eating "cheese" on moldy bread.

    Thank you!

  56. I made a donation before, and just sent in another one; like many of us here, I wish it could be more.

    I follow you both here and on Facebook, and FB says that you and I have 3 mutual friends; this is true, but there are many more folks I know/knew from my fannish days who are numbered among *your* fans-- all of them people I respect.

    You should be gratified to see that people are donating because they appreciate your work-- the possibility of winning a prize while doing so is a just a lagniappe, as far as I'm concerned.

    I, too, was thinking about the possibility of readers providing a donation in order to be added to your Facebook friends-- but I hadn't thought it through the way you have; it's one of several times since I've started reading your stuff that you have "out-thought" me and pointed out unintended consequences.

    Thanks for saying the words and expressing the ideas that I am unlikely or unable to assemble myself, with logic and passion and humor.

    One word of advice: be ruthless in shoving trolls and idiots out the airlock; just hit the button and don't look back. Most of them are not worth the air they consume, let alone the effect they have on your blood pressure (and mine). *You* know that you're right, the vast majority of your readers know that you're right, but those trolls won't acknowledge or admit it no matter what you do-- so space 'em and forget 'em.

    Thanks again.

  57. I access your essays, from the Facebook wall of a "real" writer, when he shares them. He may not be a Scalzi writer but his income is wholly made from writing novels and screenplays. I'm pretty sure he would say you are a "real" writer.

    I don't always agree with what you write. However, that's never stopped me from reading something before. If you only read things you agree with, you never expose yourself to new ideas that can help you to see a "thing", from a different angle that might allow you to grow as a human.

    I can't really afford to help support you right now. I'm a struggling college student (at 45 years old) who is still trying to figure out where I'm going to come up with $700 to buy textbooks for the spring semester, since they just cut $1500 from my financial aid with no explanation.

    However, I am going to find a way to come up with at least $20 to send you. It'll most likely come from selling something. Some may ask why I would sell something, to give money to someone else. The reason is quite simple; if I, and others are paying for the content you write, then you are a "real" writer.

  58. While I've single-shotted (if that's a word) before, this time I'm in with a monthly subscription, roughly equivalent to what I pay for our local dead-tree rag. As a retiree, I have to be very selective about where my support/donation money goes...you're up at the top of the list.

  59. Your essays help keep me sane- so well written and I rarely disagree with your viewpoint on the various subjects you write about. You are most definitely a "real writer" ! I made a very small donation- I wish it could be more and I will try to donate periodically. Barbara Schneider

  60. If I can subscribe to motorcycle magazines and my daily newspaper, I can subscribe to your writing. Which I do. Your writing is better than both the magazines and my local newspaper (my most recent editing eye roll was referring to single digit degree Fahrenheit temperatures as "below zero", but I digress) and the content makes me think. Thank you.

  61. Your writings have exhibited critical thinking and knowledge that you do your research before your pen makes your mind public. More than glad to offer my support.

    William Barrow

  62. I need to donate, considering how many times I've reacted to your Facebook posts and clicked "You are my god!" over here. I keep waiting for new yarn bowls, though. ;)

    As a writer, I know how much time and effort you put into your posts. The research, the writing, and your ability to remain more calm or coherent than most people could be is admirable. Fiction is so much easier, no matter what genre I write. There's many times you've written something and it's a relief to read a post that confirms it isn't just me who thinks something is off in the country. Thank you a 110% for that.

  63. While I do not mean to disparage your manual skills and talents, I'd personally rather win your acceptance of my friend request on FB....

  64. Donation sent. Your thoughts and words have been of benefit to many, keep up the good work.

  65. Jim, about those cheese sandwiches...


  66. Begging to get paid for this shit what next? Selling trinkets or something. Maybe go back to school and learn to write a little okay stonetard.

    1. And yet, here you are. And you keep coming back. Over and over, obsessively. Maybe I should charge you. // Jim

  67. Sorry if this multiposted, and it may fit in the "already answered" column, but have you considered self-publishing collections of your essays on Amazon and other places?

  68. Been reading your work for a while now, and am very glad I'm now in a position to be able to kick in. Keep going, we need voices like yours now, more than ever.

  69. Jim -
    In addition to being a fine Writer, I think that you'd be an excellent commentator on political talk shows. I don't know how such things are arranged with their booking agents, and my research on how/if it was compensated returned mixed results. But Charlie Pierce does it all the time. And after hosting the likes of the ultra-loony AJ Delgado, I think that the producers would be thrilled with a fact-based commentator such as yourself. Especially with all the military issues that the Trumpster's haphazard transition seem to leave dangling,

    Alas, even with a remote feed interview, I'm pretty sure that you'd have to wear pants. Though if you didn't, their field producers and cameramen have undoubtedly seen worse.

    Other ideas:
    Self-publishing, as noted above; I volunteer to proofread.

    Run ads on your site. I know they're tacky, but they do generate a bit of income.

    Guest columnist on online or paper publications. As often as people steal from you, you know there's a demand. Get compensated for it.

    I do sincerely want you to both live long and prosper. I gave a small donation at the end of last year, which is unfortunately all I can manage at present.

  70. May I make a suggestion for future giveaways? (yes, I know, I'm gonna say it anyways...)

    New subscribers who aren't currently on your facebook friends list so they can't directly communicate with you there on a daily basis, should go to the top of the list to be added when undesirables are shown to the airlock.

    THAT would make my day.

    (I wouldn't say no to the artwork either, mind you!).

  71. Hey,
    Great ideas, excellent writing.
    I even agree with most of what you
    say. Will donate what I can afford.
    All best,

  72. Damn, Jim. Don't you know you're not supposed to bring logic and reason to the Internet? Well put.

  73. Patreon or PayPal; Which do you prefer? I've got a monthly amount going to Patreon but can change it to PayPal if that's better. Don't know if either charge you a %.

  74. You said:
    "But, here’s the downside – or at least the part I like least.

    Every once in a while I need to ask for money.

    I don’t like this. I really don’t like this. I don’t like asking for money."

    Amanda Palmer has a great TED talk on this:

    She talks a lot about how asking for help helps connect her to the people around her, and the connections are what matter to artists, musicians (and writers). Donations are a fair exchange for giving a voice to and connecting with people that have no voice and crave connection. It's an act of trust (her words).

    "For most of human history, musicians, artists, they've been part of the community. Connectors and openers, not untouchable stars. Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance, but the Internet and the content that we're freely able to share on it are taking us back. It's about a few people loving you up close and about those people being enough. So a lot of people are confused by the idea of no hard sticker price. They see it as an unpredictable risk, but the things I've done, the Kickstarter, the street, the doorbell, I don't see these things as risk. I see them as trust. Now, the online tools to make the exchange as easy and as instinctive as the street, they're getting there. But the perfect tools aren't going to help us if we can't face each other and give and receive fearlessly, but, more important -- to ask without shame."


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