This January, I wrote a piece for AlterNet on how the secular community could help the less well-off in its ranks participate. The piece, to my delight, was well received. (I later based a talk on it.)
I’ve written other godless pieces, since starting this blog last August, that people appear to have liked:
- on the harassment and censorship of secular students;
- the inherent offensiveness (to some) of atheism;
- the normalisation of fundamentalism;
- the life and pathetic death of Fred Phelps;
- whether polls say British Muslims want gay people’s blood;
- what kinds of harm religious faith can cause
- and whether secularism’s really PC.
I’ve written on sexuality, relationships and gender too:
- the best and worst ways to ask for sex;
- different ways to come out;
- how to respond to sexual assault claims;
- how not to write about bisexuality;
- the fact gay marriage won’t stop HIV;
- the trouble with decoupling sex and gender;
- the misrepresentation of Tom Daley
- and, most recently, the bi-denial of Dan Savage.
And I’ve written a stack of miscellaneous things –
- on homelessness, class and Richard Dawkins’ nightmares;
- The Hunger Games;
- Doctor Who;
- Germany’s war on filesharing;
- 28 Days Later;
- the James Bond films;
- The History Boys.
I mention helping hard-up atheists first because in this piece, I’m going to ask you to do just that.
This is the post where I ask for donations.
At the start of the year, I moved to Berlin, where I lived previously as a student. I’ve been a full-time writer since living here: I moved because it’s the only place I know where living costs are low enough to make this feasible. Between writing, speaking, graphic design and other odds and ends, I’ve more or less scraped by since then, but am deeper in the red than I’d like to be: writers’ pay has nosedived in the last two decades, and careers – especially in the online age – must frequently be built on unpaid work.
The overwhelming bulk of my writing income is from articles external to this blog. (I receive, for the record, a very small amount from ad revenue every month.) This means prioritising that other work, which stops me focusing as much as I’d like on blogging. Recently, things have become precarious: because I’m waiting to be paid for other writing as I type, and because I’ve been broke for too long, I’m currently unsure if I’ll be able to pay next week’s rent on time.
Readers pay subscriptions to magazines so that they can pay writers. Members donate to national groups so they can pay their staff. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, or someone who dips in and out but likes what you dip in for… or someone who only just started reading, but wants to support my work, this post is where you can make a donation.
I’m not going to name a set amount. At present, any help you give will make getting by easier for me, and I can’t afford to turn any away, so (unless more pours in than I could ever have imagined) this donation drive is open-ended. Large or small, I’ll accept any sum: one reader, Charlie Pite, recently tipped me £3 (€3.64/$5.04), thus paying for a week’s potatoes.
Here are some numbers, though, which might be useful:
€313.70 / £258.27 / $434.10 is my monthly rent. (Yes, that exact figure.)
€150 / £123.49 / $207.57 is what I need to pay May’s, due this Thursday, on time.
€62.25 / £51.25 / $86.14 covers a month’s phone and Internet access (vital to my work).
€20-30 / £16.47-24.70 / $27.68-41.51 covers food, transport and other basic living costs for a week.
€10 / £8.23 / $13.84 pays for food for two or three days.
€5 / £4.12 / $6.92 pays for a return trip across town on public transport. (I make one about once a week.)
Update 14/06/2014: these figures are now defunct. Up-to-date numbers (details here) are as follows:
- €270 / £215.48 / $365.57 is my monthly rent.
- €33.83 / £27 / $45.81 covers a month’s phone and internet access (vital to my work).
- €20-30 / £15.96-23.94 / $27.08-40.62 covers food, transport and other basic living costs for a week.
- €10 / £7.98 / $13.54 pays for food for two or three days.
- €5 / £3.99 / $6.77 pays for a return trip across town on public transport. (I make one about once a week.)
Chances are I’ll have to do this once or twice again this year. If you want to support me and my blog with small and regular donations, you can ‘subscribe’ through PayPal and give €5, €10 or €20 a month.
PayPal’s donation page includes an information box where donors can attach a note. Everyone who helps, unless they ask otherwise there, will be publicly thanked in future posts; I’ll happily plug or signal-boost the website of their choice. Like Miri of Brute Reason, I’m also open to writing posts on each donor’s chosen theme.
Thanks in advance to those who lend a hand – I don’t plan on disappearing from this blog any time soon.