Back in the Saddle

Normally, I’d be here in the morning to write a blog, but the first of the month, from now on, is likely to be a bit different. Welcome to the New World Order, where suddenly everything is a lot more complicated, but amazingly appears about 3000% more professional. Somewhere between the end of February and now, I became an adult content creator. Blimey.

There have already been complaints and yes, I hear you. I always said I’d be the one who wouldn’t do this, and would staunchly exempt myself from the rigours of capitalism, but right now nobody is working, therefore money has to come from somewhere. There was never a good time to bite the bullet and go subscription, when all is said and done circumstance effectively made that choice for me.

It doesn’t mean however that content stops here, anything but. It’s a simple redistribution of effort and attainment in different locations. I will ensure however that content keeps being saved here: weekly poetry, daily Twitter short story… all those things still have their place in the world and will not suddenly vanish. There will be some new things here too, as time goes on, but first I need the Patreon mechanics to work well.

I suppose if I’ve only upset one person out of (potentially) millions thus far, that has to count for something. If everybody else can adjust to this new normal, that is the direction everything will subsequently head. I’m actually pretty excited because tomorrow I am putting together the first of TWO LANzine for the month: the first one is a dry run to see if anyone’s interested in the sub-only edition for which this post’s header is the main graphic.

The only way you get to swim is to sink first. Time to dive in…

Rise Up

This will be the last post on-site before the big reorganisational change happens, starting next week. Having committed to the change, I’d like to get started on the nuts and bolts changes that need to happen behind the scenes. That will involve a Secret Bonus Area for Patreon followers, accomodation for the NEW Weekly Newsletter… plus shifting around all the old stuff to become more friendly and accessible.

Therefore, starting next week you can expect to see stuff morph and evolve before your very eyes. I don’t have the luxury of just shutting everything down, after all, so we’ll sort as much of the architecture out as possible within the existing framework, then turn up and give the thing a lick of new paint. After all, it would be rubbish to do that first and then discover a bunch of stuff is no longer fit for purpose…

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Then, we’ll relaunch everything in April, with a brief moment for World Poetry Day on March 21st. Of course, you’ll still be able to read my daily rantings via Twitter or on the Laughing Geek Website, or observe my increasing graphic competence via Instagram. I’m going to also be overhauling Ko-Fi to link up with the Patreon, so you can go take a look at that too when everything is complete.

Consider it a general Spring Clean for everything.

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Oh yeah, and about Patreon. I’m gonna go for it again: there is no idea who will be interested, can only hope the content ends up speaking for itself. Lots of people are struggling to get by and won’t ever be able to afford to support me anyway, and as a result I’ve decided to give this whole thing until December to see whether there is enough interest to push forward.

Is what I do worth paying for? It’ll soon be time to see for myself…

Escape

[A copy of this blog post will be copied to my Patreon account as soon as it is posted here.]

I’ve watched the events of the last four days play out on the Internet first with a sense of idle curiosity, and then with increasing anger. For those of you who don’t live online as I do, Patreon announced midweek (and you will now have details) a change to their charging structure. This at first seemed ill-advised, until details surfaced from a financial statement published earlier in the year that the company was less than enamoured with the number of ‘low dollar’ users it was attracting. This Twitter post sums up what then happened pretty accurately:

I think I finally disconnected over the scheduled blog post mistake, for reasons that should not be a surprise to any of my regular readers. I find myself unable in good conscience to continue using a service that feels this way about its user base, spent an entire weekend saying absolutely nothing and is very unlikely to go back on the decisions made. Even if they do, I feel the damage is done for me. If you think that some creators are somehow more important than others because they make more money, that’s unlikely to change, however much noise they make.

I said to myself that I’d wait to see this morning what Patreon’s next move would be, but in the last 24 hours three of my most vocal and enthusiastic supporters have all messaged me privately asking if there are alternatives to using the platform, and the die is cast. I will be cancelling my Patreon on December 22nd. This gives me a chance to let everybody know what’s happening, get physical Christmas gifts to those people who have provided an address, and send off the seasonal Haiku I promised as my December rewards. After that, I’m done.

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To say I’m gutted is an understatement, but I’m also enough of a realist to grasp that this can be an opportunity in disguise. A number of people have already offered to fund me, a couple already have, and to make sure there is some kind of transitional arrangement between the end of Patreon and the New Year, there are now buttons up on my blog that link firstly to my Paypal page and then to Ko-fi. I’m not a huge coffee drinker but I won’t turn down a cup, especially as I’m about to consciously cut ties with a company I feel does not care about what I am or what has been achieved.

I’ve not done enough things in my life on principle. Making the break now really matters, because it will give me time to organise myself better, allow an opportunity to finish the writing projects I have in my own time, yet sustain a decent and consistent form of output here. I intend to make the most of the time I’ll have between Christmas and New Year to overhaul everything site-wise (as was the plan anyway) and come back with new ideas and approaches in 2018. For now, as would be the case with anything else currently, I’d like to cut the toxic influence I feel Patreon has become out of my life.

If you want to move forward with me, here is the place to bookmark for future use.

 

Old Friends

Again, through the wonders of time-travel, I’m writing a post on Sunday that should have been published on Wednesday, but that’s useful at least in terms of deciding what happens to both this website and my Patreon going forward. If you’re a Patron and have not yet taken part in my Feedback Survey, you can expect an email to ask you to consider giving some next week, before I open up the process to the general public. I’m quite happy with the way that poetry is now running, and organising a month’s content in advance has given a lot of freedom for other projects to take flight. Therefore, next month, I’ll be doing the same with a twist.

Before Xmas

This year the festive season will be celebrated in a very particular way: I’ll be producing 25 Haiku up to and including Christmas Day. However, I will be taking the Christmas period off: last day of ‘work’ for me will be December 22nd, returning to full activity on January 2nd. It is still not clear what December’s Patreon content will be, but I’ll have a better idea after the Feedback Survey is concluded. What I will be doing is starting to write the Haiku next week, as many of them will need particular festive pictures as accompaniment.

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I suspect there may be an Audio Advent Calendar too as there’s never a bad time to share music, however that’s not going to need that much additional planning. I’ve decided to not push particularly hard for new Patrons in December but to leave that for 2018: yes, I could give it a go but as most people’s cash over this time of year is quite difficult to come by, it seems only right and proper to not push the point.

Watch this space for more details of how Patreon may change, and what new things might be in store for the end of 2017…

Standing in the Rain

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At the end of this month, the Patreon content produced for this website will take a four-week hiatus in order to allow me to properly participate in the 2017 NaNoWriMo event. However, I do not intend to rest on my laurels: during this time I’m going to survey everyone currently contributing to my cause with some questions intended to try and learn what people like and dislike about my output. Using this, I’ll then replan tiers for a soft relaunch in December. If you’re a Patreon donor, look out for the e-mail in early November.

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The NaNoWriMo preparation is now in full swing. I’ll be spending next week putting down markers for what needs to be done: setting clear objectives, looking at what will cause me issues, working out what needs to be planned in advance. I’m probably about 80% ready to roll on this, all that is needed now is a clear plan of action that I can cross off as things are completed. In fact, if I’m totally honest, this is the most organised and confident I’ve been about this entire event since I started doing it.

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There’s still quite a lot to finish before November is here, however: there’s a couple of week’s worth of Haiku that still require archiving. However, the level of organisation currently is more than satisfactory. Let’s see if we can’t keep that momentum going as we go careening into a new week, the hood of coat on my head as I pretend its a superhero’s cape…

My Affair

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Many of you read my triumvirate of blogs on a regular basis, and will know that all three together are the best way of judging my mental state. I’ve made no bones over the years of how important writing is for keeping me sane, and the last week has brought home the understanding that it also has the capacity to make me reassess myself in ways I’d not previously considered. Last week’s essay asked questions of my past that I’d not been comfortable answering until now. This resulted in a weekend where I went through a phenomenal amount of personal angst, to grasp that history cannot be avoided and ultimately has to be dealt with, whether I like it or not.

This week, therefore, is fairly crucial in proving to myself I am learning lessons. The first 48 hours are always quite stress free: it will be this time next week where I’ll see if the changes in diet, the alteration to my working practices and my change of focus are beginning to have an effect. There is a lot of stuff that I want to do before Christmas, most of which have nothing to do with personal comfort, and are wrapped around beginning to give back to those who have helped me get this far.

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I’m going to be privately contacting a number of people I want to particularly thank for their support but I’ve had a plan for a while to use November’s Haiku in the same way I’m doing with the Inktober prompts via #ThinkTober on Instagram. Therefore, I spent some time on Sunday finishing up a series of 30 Tweets that will be Haiku for November. I won’t say in advance who these thank you messages are for, only that I have spent a quite some time working out who’d be gifted a poem.

I’ve already spoken about NaNoWriMo, more details of which will be discussed next week. What also needs to change, as a result of what I’ve learnt from this month’s worth of Patreon content, is what I’m offering in terms of tiers and rewards.

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It’s become apparent with my mental reactions to the content I’m producing that there is so much more I could be doing, but cannot due to the self-imposed structure I have in place. Therefore, in my month’s worth of downtime in November there’s going be some hard thoughts about how things change, and I will be polling my existing patrons quite extensively on what they would like to see. If you’d like to be part of that process, you can become part of my Patreon family with just a click of the above banner.

I look forward to taking some genuine steps into the unknown in the months that follow.

Breathe In

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I’m here on a Friday to celebrate what has been a successful month for this little site. Starting on Monday is the very real possibility of multiple posts a day and a really rather packed schedule all the way until Christmas. Having already pre-warned you about Think-Tober, I went away and made better graphics, and that will begin via Instagram on Sunday. I suspect there’ll be a compilation of seven days worth of posts in this medium at some point across the weekends in October too.

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We’re still behind a bit, but once October’s Book of the Month titles are posted on Monday along with the last of the outstanding acrostics, there’s no excuse to keep up to date. This month will also see an alteration to Patreon tiers in an attempt to attract more interest, plus some subtle changes to the concept’s major remit. I’d planned to reassess every three months, so this part of my plan is still on schedule. Looking ahead, the Book of the Month will be taking a one-month hiatus in November to accommodate my participation in the 2017 NaNoWriMo event.

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I’ve written on and of for NaNo across five years, but only the last two have been serious efforts. This year, the plan is to come up with something I will turn into a potentially saleable novel. That level of completion and professionalism has, as yet, eluded me, but I believe I’m in a decent position this year to make that a reality. To make sure I’m utterly focused, rethought and re-organised Patreon content will launch again December 1st. Everyone who is currently a Patreon will also be getting an exclusive (and personalised) Christmas gift, as a thank you for your continued support.

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Until then, you can expect an increase in the amount of poetry being written, original works appearing and all sorts of other TOP QUALITY GUBBINS.