I’m going to do an unusual post, without writing content; I apologize if that bothers anyone. But this is on my mind.
“I’ve figured out what makes you tick,” my dad said to me late one night when I was home visiting for the holidays. “Money doesn’t matter to you.”
“I don’t care about money,” I agreed with a grimace while he continued to talk. “It’s crap.”
“You care about what interests you. What gets your mind going–cultures and languages and making connections with other people.”
And, it’s true. I really don’t care about money. I would love to win the lottery mostly so I could give the majority of it away, and the bit I’d keep would just be to get me out of debt and let me live with moderate comfort while I write the rest of my life, and also so I could keep a bit aside to make sure my dog always has the best medical care available with a fund. If I could, I’d like to always be able to give for free everything I write, everything I do. When I was younger, my family saw that I liked to write and somehow I wrote it in honor of other people. My grandpa’s death, my grandma’s death, my cousin’s wedding… At one point I got commissioned to write poetry for my cousin’s graduation, and when I realized my aunts were going to try to pay me for it I was aghast.
“I don’t want money,” I told them. “Not for the crap I do. You should give that to my cousin instead.”
But my aunt was insistent.
I also remember one time when I babysat for a neighbor, they came home and were trying to write a check to me and I felt uncomfortable. “You shouldn’t pay me,” I told them. “If anything, I should be the one paying you for eating your food and watching your tv.” The mom thought that was a great response, but at the time I didn’t understand why.
Honestly, to me, anything I do will never be good enough, never be true quality, and that’s why I don’t want to charge anyone for it. I feel like I’d be asking them to waste their money on subpar quality when they could invest in something more important, something that is more integral to their happiness.
But I don’t come from wealth and never will. Unless some millionaire randomly finds me and falls in love with me, it’s just not ever going to happen.
The thing is, though, money is required in this day and age. I still don’t want to compromise my happiness for money, nor do I want to demand people pay for subpar quality, but I also know that from the other side of the equation there are times when I personally WANT to be able to give someone money because I believe in them and I want to support them. I give money to charity for that all the time.
So that’s why we created the donation button a few years ago, because people kept requesting to be able to donate money. It was the only way I felt comfortable about it.
But lately, I’ve been wishing I had enough money to be able to support my parents. If I could replace the (sadly low) amount of money my mom makes, I could support her being able to quit a job I wish she’d left ten years ago. A job that makes her unhappy and stressed and feel unappreciated. My mom is an amazing person who has lost sight of all of her talents and hobbies because of a job that has worn her down, and I just don’t want to see it anymore. I also don’t like seeing my dad get stressed at times, having to deal with all these new fires that pop up.
I wish I was wealthy so I could give them freedom. So I could give my dog anything she wanted, and so I could support my friends with their small businesses. I’m okay where I’m at. I don’t need anything special or fancy–I have a very comfortable place already, with my only wish being that I had a room I could use as a library/writing room/guest room so my parents could come and stay. But that isn’t that important. I can continue to use what I have happily, and if I continue to have to have a full time job it’s okay even though I wish I could write full time. But it’s okay, it isn’t necessary in comparison to what’s more important: I wish I could support the people I love.
What does all of this have to do with 2015?
Well, I felt like I was useless this year. Like I did nothing. But then I started going through some of my calendar pieces for a required year end summary a week or two ago and I realized I’d forgotten a number of things I’d done at work, like presenting at a conference and being chosen for a work trip to Washington DC. I thought I’d done nothing with writing, but I did get to do my first blog tour, and we wrote/edited 1/27, edited and released Evenfall I and II, and later released those for limited paperback publishing. I also wrote 2/3 – 3/4 of one book in one month (Julian Files, over 50k words) and have another book 2/3 – 3/4 written (Dead Rain). There may be other things I’m forgetting. I guess these aren’t insignificant things necessarily, although I still feel like overall I’ve wasted a lot of my time and generally speaking suck at everything.
I don’t normally do New Year’s Resolutions because I find that I never follow through and I am not reliable. Plus I feel like it’s kind of fake/weird to try to set oneself a goal only at the beginning of the year rather than setting smaller goals throughout the year.
But the thing is, despite my apathy and even sometimes distaste of money, I do want to set myself goals for 2015. I want to publish at least one book (ideally two) and get a significant amount written on another. More is awesome but that’s what I’d really like as a minimum. I’d also like to change my job. I struggle with what I want to do instead in general, and whether I want to find a higher paying job for a year so I can save up money and take time off in 2016, or drop to a lower paying job with fewer hours so I can have more time off to write throughout 2015. I don’t know. I never know. But what I do know is, I want to write, and I want to be able to eventually have enough stability so I can support my parents at least–and ideally give money/support to my closest friends as well, or if I had a lot of money, all of them plus also my favorite locally owned businesses. If I had tons of money, I’d love to be able to set annual or monthly contributions to my favorite charities too, and even create the charity I thought of in college.
So, even though I’m naturally very reticent to take money for anything I produce, you might see more actual published works from me in the coming years. Know that wherever it’s in my power, I will likely still try to keep it as cheap as I can while still making a doable profit, and that the money I receive will be with the goal of ultimately being able to give it away.
I don’t know if that information helps or hinders anything, but it’s where I’m at. I’m not the sort of person who can easily accept praise (usually I just deflect it) and the same goes for money for my work, but there are some things that move beyond my initial uncertainty–and helping others definitely falls within that realm. If it’s just for me, it doesn’t feel important. If it’s for others, it’s more important than I can say.
(By the way, I want to be clear that I’m not saying anything AT ALL against people who do feel no qualms with accepting money for what they do. In all honesty, I figure that’s probably the more natural response, and it’s probably much smarter in the grand scheme of things so they can live their lives free of constraints. I support anyone who has the confidence to go into things knowing the value of their own work. I’m just giving an explanation of how I am, full stop. I just happen to be this way, and I don’t know why but it’s who I am, which ends up driving a lot of my tendencies when it comes to releasing content)
I’m rambling at this point and I’m sorry.
But I do want to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone and anyone who has ever supported me or Santino and me throughout the years, months, weeks, hours, seconds–whatever amount of time you’ve known of me or him/us, thank you for your kindness and your time. Thank you for being you, and please always remember how unique and beautiful and meaningful you are on your own. Thank you for 2014, and I hope to see you in 2015. Thank you for everything, and with all that I have I am wishing you the very best in all that you do.
Happy New Year, everyone!