Five days ago I posted I was in a crisis, asking readers of this blog to support it and to hire my skills. I meant to post an update on Thursday but came down with a cold, and am just regaining blogging faculties. (One thing about being a writer: a broken leg would be no problem whatsoever, but a common cold makes work impossible.)
Long story short, I’m now fine. Actually, I’m better than fine.
Since my post asking for help, over a dozen people have made contact looking to hire me and over five dozen have helped fund this blog. Since I don’t have their permission I won’t thank them by name, and nor will I name the amount I’ve received – but it’s enough that my circumstances have radically changed.
Just over a week ago, I was in a professional dry spell of the sort freelancers have from time to time. Now I have a work schedule that lasts till mid October.
Just over a week ago, I was over £100 past my overdraft limit. Now I’m not just within it: for the first time since early this year, I’m in credit.
If I had no living costs other than rent, I’d be covered for a long, long time. Even with expenses, barring catastrophe, I’ll be in no imminent danger till 2015. My kitchen shelves are stocked, I can afford shoes that don’t let water in and generally, I’m no longer in a crisis.
I have a number of thank yous to say, and I mean it more than you can know.
First: thank you to the rest of Freethought Blogs for being the best network on the internet. I can’t think of anywhere else colleagues would have supported me the way they have.
Second: thank you to everyone who passed on my post. It was shared dozens of times on social media, and I have no doubt this helped tremendously: the vast majority of help I received came from perfect strangers.
Third: thank you to everyone who donated to fund this blog. I’m now convinced it’s my most important work, and the support you gave to it was staggering. Nothing tells me people value my work like having them pay to support it, and I currently feel exceptionally valued.
Fourth, in particular: thank you to everyone who made extremely large donations. Some of the sums I was sent were mind-boggling – I’m still struggling to process the notifications.
Fifth, in particular: thank you to everyone who made extremely small donations. I know what it’s like being so broke you can’t eat, and in their own way the smallest amounts mean more than the largest ones – they came from the readers who had least to give.
Sixth: thank you to everyone who subscribed or set up regular donations. I now receive enough in once-a-month payments, most of them small, to cover a month’s food shopping.
Seventh: thank you to everyone who hired me or is thinking of it. You didn’t just help me escape a tight spot – you’re helping me build a client network that will make all my work to come sustainable.
Eighth: thank you if you did none of the above, but are reading this… especially if you read me regularly. You’re why I got this far. Many of you, I know, are lurkers – I’d love to meet you. Say hi in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter or via email.
I repeat: I’m no longer in a crisis – on the contrary, I’m in a better position than I was for months. I’m not going to stop accepting anything, but if you want to help someone in an emergency right now, help someone else. If, in particular, you have a limited amount to give, there are people who now need it more pressingly than me.
This being said: since what I received was more than I ever foresaw, some of my goalposts are moving.
Rather than just surviving, I’m considering some long-term investments in my own job, principally a desk (so I have somewhere comfortable to work) and sofa-bed (so I’m no longer just sleeping on a mattress). In the process, on top of paying the rent, I’ll probably dip back into my overdraft. I’m not panicked about that, but now that I’m the black I want to stay there as much as I can, so as well as working on the many jobs I’m now being paid to do, I’m going to start throwing a post up roughly once a month to advertise what I do for money and ask fans of this blog to help make it pay – not to rescue me from a crisis, but to shore things up and help prevent them down the line.
To address the inevitable Slymepit rage:
I don’t think a desk and sofa-bed are unreasonable expenses for someone who works from home, and like most business expenses they’ll help me get more work done. When, several months of paid work after fundraising for cancer-related costs, Greta Christina bought a pair of business shoes and was covered in odium, she offered (despite feeling no obligation) to refund anyone’s donation who minded – as it turned out, no one did. I’ve thought about making the same offer, but I’m not going to. I don’t believe poor people should be held to higher standards of frugality than rich people, I’ve said why this spending makes sense, and my blog is a business people donated to: if you fund one on KickStarter or IndieGogo, you don’t get to tell the owners what specific goods or services to buy. (As it happens, I am always trying to think of ‘perks’ I could offer donors. What would people like?) If my buying basic furniture bothers you, you’re free not to donate to me again – but actually, I doubt that if you did so out of a desire to help, it will.
So that’s where I’m at – all the thank yous above again, a million times over. I’m now going to resume business as usual and be a blogger again. As it happens, I’m expecting people I know to need financial help themselves in the near future, so will keep you updated.
You’re all phenomenal and I’ll speak to you soon.