Friday Roundup: Scary Things Edition . . . Patreon, Music, a Book in a Month, Oh My!

It’s the first week on January and ohhhh goals are so hard! I didn’t even set goals this year—it’s last year’s hangers-on that are after me.

And they should be after me, because I set them two weeks ago and immediately fell off the goal wagon. It was Christmas, there was a visitor, there was travel . . . I’m giving me a break. Kind of (stop yelling at me, brain!).

I’m back to life that isn’t mostly eating, drinking, and merrymaking, so that means remembering how to behave as a non-paid professional.

“Non-paid professional”—it’s like the worst game of dress-up.

The not-worst part, however, is the writing itself. My lack of doubt about this quest is surprising and perhaps scary, especially given my uncertainty toward what to do next!?

But I do have a short-term next . . .


Weekly Roundup: The Scary Things Edition

1. Book In a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

2. The Dresden Dolls

3. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

4. Patreon

5. F.lux

1. Book In a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

The proposal is out for my free travel book and the proposal for my next book (on Stoic philosophy) is nearly finished, so now I’m at an “Uhhhhh…what’s next?” phase.

I’d been planning to root myself in Portland, but as proof that I should never assume I know what’s happening in my life, I’ve decided to move to Atlanta where I have friends and family and guaranteed consistent laughter.

So, that leaves me in Portland not really wanting to put myself out there, but needing a month of productivity while I finish a housesit I’ve committed to (I commit to others, not myself, thankyouverymuch).

I can’t/shouldn’t embark on my next book idea without funding, and though I could devote time to finding online writing/editing jobs, I have enough budget to eek out one more month without income.

Enter: Book In a Month!

I’ve written a nonfiction book, but fiction is a different beast—one that I fear. I first heard about BIAM in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and thought, “I’m not there yet, deargodno!” But the whole point of BIAM is to make you be “there” and pump out a book no matter what. It doesn’t have to be good or even acceptable.

The Book In a Month guide book provides an excellent framework; just follow it without fail and you will write a book. In a month. Yep, sounds too good to be true, but plenty of people have done it, so we got this.

I plan to use my BIAM to self-publish in an Amazon niche category (making it easier to reach bestseller status within). Probably a novel having to do with American frontier romance. Not a romance between the airlines, but people of the 1800s. Weird, weird, I know.  

I figure: if it sells, awesome. If not, it’s a throwaway/practice project anyway. And learning! It’s a learning experience!


2. Amanda Palmer

In one of those strange, twisty acts of magic that often touch upon my life, this was the week I “met” Amanda Palmer.

First, it was Spotify. As random music played, my ears caught on a bizarre mix of punk, cabaret, and voraciously raw singing. It was Palmer’s band The Dredsen Dolls

Her style won’t be for everybody—it’s aggressive and a bit jerky. But I’m a sucker for strong, talented women and beautiful piano riffs.


3. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

The twisty magic continues! Two days after discovering The Dresden Dolls, I saw a tweet referencing Patreon (see below) to fund creative enterprises.

Someone pointed to a Ted Talk called The Art of Asking, so I popped it on and guess who the speaker is . . . Okay okay I’ll tell you! It’s Amanda Palmer! I don’t want to be all woo-woo, but there’s something behind such moments of coincidence. Palmer now has a book of the same name, and I hope it helps us realize that it’s okay to just do our thing and not feel ashamed.

Serendipity amazes me. Last month, on the day I discovered the four-chunk rule in Stopping the Noise in Your Head, I stumbled upon Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk on motivation. The two ideas enforced each other like magic and lead to my [awesome/enlightening/brilliant!] post, How Four Chunks Are Causing You to Stop Yourself RIGHT NOW, then to finding Pink’s awesome book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.


4. Patreon

Here’s the deal:

You can put yourself online for people to give you money for any reason at all. It’s like street busking, except my writing pursuit is the version of me sitting on a bench while my rat sits on my cat’s head who sits on my dog’s head and we’re all just chillin’, waiting for you to put a quarter in that hat.

I don’t have any of those three animals, but boyyy if I did . . . I would do exactly as I’ve just described. Instead, I’m taking the writing-in-isolation route.

I’ve spent the past year nomadically housesitting to avoid rent while I carry out the “career” of a writer and slowly exhaust my savings. I’m reaching a scary point in finances and don’t want to cave into getting a real job; Patreon is a way to ask for help just in case someone feels like helping. Why not?


This is tough and vaguely embarrassing. There are so many things out there that need money more than I do. But also, some people might donate to me who simply wouldn’t donate to the other more deserving things. And some people have enough dough that it’s not either/or for them.

There is no “way to do” life. Who am I to say you shouldn’t give me some dollars if you feel like it? Plus, money will go to this creative quest, which means it will go to making the world better.

More people need to realize that it’s okay to pursue creativity and believe in themselves. I’m working to that end, and Patreon or not, I don’t plan to stop. So…give me all your money. Or not! I’m just happy to have you here.


5. F.lux

Here, darlings, is a simple way to make your life better. The blue light emitted from electronics makes it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. It makes sense, because computer light is meant for daylight, so when night time comes, the body gets confused.  

If you have trouble falling asleep, being plugged-in up to three hours before bed may be the culprit. F.lux automatically matches light tones to your circadian rhythm. I definitely find it helpful and the color change isn’t too drastic. Basically, F.lux is a no-brainer.

For your health!

Heyyyy, that’s it! Hopefully there’s something useful for you in there (there is! F.lux! If nothing else! Come on!), but if there isn’t, tell me what I should talk about next week—leave a comment below.

Happy weekend!

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