In the last day or so, I’ve been having some fascinating conversations with the Gunmetal Geisha about the pros and cons of submitting one’s writing to i) a site which pays for writing, ii) HuffPo, iii) another of the Big Bloggy Sites, or iv) none of the above. It’s been enlightening to hear her thoughts, and although she constructs a very well-reasoned argument, I’ve still found myself on the fence.
Bear with me – it might be about to feel a bit arrogant in here…
I know I can write well. I’ve practiced a lot, I’m widely read, I have fun trying out different things and seeing what works, and a lot of the time I’m fairly successful. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on my writing, be it poetry or Considerings or fiction pieces (and thanks, because the feedback does help – even the constructive criticism is useful, because it helps me to improve) and I’m…shall we leave it at…confident in my abilities. I’m not the world’s greatest ever, and that’s fine – it’s not what I aspire to be. But I am (on the whole) pretty damn readable.
Additionally, I’m not here to promote myself or gain a bajillion followers or create a solid Blogosphere presence from which place to launch a book or a project. Apart from hoping to spread a little awareness about infertility/miscarriage and the fall-out of each, I’m mostly here to just PLAY, and I love that. I love that there’s no pressure, and that it can all be as fun as I want it to be. Of course, along the way, I’ve discovered that writing is damn good therapy, and it brings the most wonderful connections with truly lovely people, many of whom now matter deeply to me, so there’s that, too, but mostly (in terms of output) it’s just about being here to have a laugh and write for the sake of it.
SO, were I to tout my writing to one of the aforementioned sites (and I’ve done it before – I’ve been published twice on Scary Mommy, with miscarriage-related pieces, which I thought was really good of them to share, seeing as it’s a tricky topic), I don’t anticipate that I’d be particularly wrought with worry over the ‘will they/won’t they accept me’ (because I don’t much mind), and I don’t think I’d feel stressed out or short-changed if my follower statistics didn’t jump through the roof if I did get published. And I’m not too bothered about getting paid. It would just be for the sheer – adunno, not even kudos, because my perspective (and arrogance? I did warn you) leaves me not too worried about shouting it from the rooftops and having everyone I know congratulate me on it – it would just be for the idle fun of having a go and seeing if I could get in there. A kind of academic exercise – because I honestly don’t mind either way, and yeah – I think my writing (on a good day) is comparable to some of the pieces they put out there.
[SIDE NOTE – I don’t mean, by any of this, to undermine the specialness of being picked and published by one of the Big Sites to those who consider it special. I also don’t mean to suggest that it’s not a Big Deal in terms of all the added statistics/followers/Blogosphere presence/money, for those to whom these things matter – it definitely *is* a Big Deal, and there are people who work it and make really, really good on it, and GOOD FOR THEM. All I’m saying is that’s not where *I’m* at…]
BUT…the thought of writing being valuable, and actually worth something in financial terms – the thought of my writing being worth something in financial terms – that stuck with me. Partially because I’d never considered it before, and partially because it grew into a Big Deal kind of thought. Maybe. It might be terrible – let me know.
Here’s the thing.
Cancer (stick with me).
It sucks. It ruins lives. It destroys. It upsets me to the very middlest centre of my being. Because it’s killed family. Because it’s killing family. Because it’s killing friends. And in those friends and family where it is present and kept at bay, it’s still very much THERE, and awful, and dark and invasive, because you never know when it’s going to stop being in remission and develop into something super-nasty, which will finish them off. It is life lived on tenterhooks, if lived at all.
And as many man-hours and basic research and time and money and effort are poured into it, it’s still awful and still very much Out There, and it still kills, leaving heartbreak and pain behind it, and it needs MORE – more science; more research; more testing; more medical advancement; more man-hours, and yes – more money.
Which is where writing, and my perhaps-maybe-genius idea comes in.
There’s a March On Cancer in my city soon, and I’m going to be going. I’ll see how many people I can get to join in, and we’ll all do our bit. But fund-raising? Ack. I don’t want to bake a load of cakes and try to flog them. I don’t want to pester my colleagues or acquaintances with sponsor forms. I’m not a fan of accosting people for money, but I AM a fan of doing something I know I’m good at and capable of and enjoy, and sending the proceeds to charity. I used to do babysitting that way. Now what I enjoy (cos I’m a bit old for sitting on someone else’s couch watching telly for the evening) is writing.
SO – enter The Plan – I’m going to ‘sell’ my writing. But not: I’m going to offer it in exchange for donations to your favourite Kick-Cancer’s-Butt charity. I’m not going to set up a page or do PayPal or anything at all – this works off honour. If you want to buy into my idea, then I will trust that you’ve done your bit and sent your donation to the cancer charity of your choice, and you let me know in the comments what you want; I’ll assume you’ve donated the suggested amount (though by all means, go over and above) and I’ll write for you as soon as I can.
Here’s what’s on offer:
A poem – $10/£6
A Considerings guest post – $20/£12
A fiction/story guest post – $25/£15
An actual, in fact, real letter through your door – $30/£18.50
The prices are what they are because it’s for CHARITY, darlings. And we’ll see (because I’m actually nervous about this – it might all go horribly wrong and not be liked as an idea AT ALL, and be completely, utterly ignored) whether or not anything comes of it. I am putting myself OUT THERE, for a damn good cause. Because I’m sick and tired of perfectly good human beings dying of this shitty disease. I am sicker and tireder of seeing people I care for get hurt by it. And I am terrified about losing any of them.
Macmillan Cancer Support suggests that as many as 1 person in 3 will get cancer at some point in their lives.
You have 10 ‘Ten Things of Thankful’ co-hosts. As far as I’m aware, three have already been affected by it. I’d really like it to stop there.
And this – fun as I’m sure it will be for me to do the writing – does NOT feel like playing. It feels like fighting back.
I hope you’ll support me.
(And if you want to know what’s set me off (this time) it was this post at Our Land, by our very own Zoe)