As I was looking at the finances for my trip, and I very quickly went well, I need some way to make money. I need about 1200 a month while I am traveling. I have enough money for me to be jobless for about 6 months, depending on how much I spend on things like my flights and if I go to Burning Man, and how much I make selling everything I own. I have started my blog, and I am working on how to monetize said blog. I am working on having content worth reading, and getting more followers on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and Pintrist to help drive the monetization of my blog. I am learning about SEO (search engine optimization), learning to write a better blog. I am looking at taking stock photos for money, and writing other peoples blog content, I am honestly surprised at the number of things that one can do to make a US based income while traveling abroad, not to mention things like waiting tables and the like. In short, I'm trying to cobble together a moderate living for when I am traveling.
As I was working on how I was going to afford to house and feed myself, someone asked me if I had thought about crowdfunding? I hadn't, but I love KickStarter, I have bought so much random crap on that site it's ridiculous. I have gotten some amazing stuff on there. The awesome and crap part of backing things is that you get random boxes you forgot were coming months and months after you backed the project, or you wait not so patiently for months to get something you really wanted, that seems to never show up at your house. It's delightfully awful.
I have also been hit up enough by people I know on Facebook to back their crowdfunding project for everything from, help me move, to help with medical bills, to pay for a funeral, to fund my comic book. Some things I have backed because I loved the person and they needed help, and some because it was a good cause. I have bought things on KickStarted because I wanted the item, and I have backed things because the project was worth doing, because having the whatever in the world would make the world a better place. I have given help for so many reasons. But, I, I didn't want to beg.
When I give help, it's help, but when I ask it's begging. It's standing on the street with a sign that's a lie no matter how true it is, because it feels like a lie to me. I work in sales, and I can ask you to buy crap I know you don't want; you have told me you don't want, and I will ask you without shame and without nervousness. I will cajole and flatter and ask you to hand me your money for an item you didn't want, you will let me talk you into wanting something you didn't know existed, but asking for money to make art or to travel isn't the same. Even though for many people they would rather give me money than be sold something, it's not the same to me. I have seen first hand from the giving side how it doesn't feel like begging when my friends ask for help. It feels good to help them to give them something that they need, but I don't want to have to hold my hat in hand and say I need help. I'm bright and talented and it hurts some prideful part of me to say; I need help. The idea of saying hey, I need some help to make it so that I can travel full time for 6 to 9 months terrifies me.
Sure, I set up the account on Patreon; I filled it all out and then did nothing with it, I was too afraid to even publish the site let alone post it to my Facebook. My Facebook has 1500 friends I know less than 200 of them in real life. These people don't matter to me other than that they are alive and could possibly reject me. I have been working hard on my blog for months. I think, I have written some decent posts, and yet I haven't given my link to anyone but my mom. Sadly, I am spending a sizeable amount every month just to journal to my mother, because I am afraid to ask my friends and family to support me. Not financially support me, but I can't seem to get the courage to just ask them to read what I have written, to be a hit on my site, just to be a damn page view.
I am afraid to ask.
I could lie and tell you that I am afraid it isn't good enough, I could tell you that I have said things that my super Christian holier than holy family would not be okay with, and since we are friends on Facebook I could tell you that it's the fear of them knowing that I like girls, or have had sex out of wedlock, or that I am kinky, that those are the things that I am afraid of, but it's not. It's the fear to stand up and say; hey, you over there, I need you; I need you to help me. I need page views, and I need money, and need people to comment on my blog so it looks like I am not just journaling to my mother. It's not just asking for money that I can't do, it's asking for anything. I have published my stories online and I didn't let the fear of rejection stop me. Maybe it's that the rejection on my blog would come from people I know, at least in theory, very few people I know in the real world knows who I am on the fanfic site, so the rejection wouldn't be from people I know, but I don't think that's it.
I have this inner monologue going in my head, it goes something like this; you have a good job, you don't have the right to ask for help, you make enough that if you want to travel you just need to save money, what you really need to do is eat out less, work more hours, postpone your trip, get the money yourself; you have no right to ask others to give you what you should be able to get for yourself, you are a user for asking. You don't want to be that annoying person who is shamelessly plugging their blog or their website.
I admittedly don't want to beg for spare change, and that's how asking for money for my trip feels to me, that's how asking for anything feels to me. I see people on Patreon asking for help and getting large sums of money, and even though there are people far more notable than me, they are on there asking for money. I will commend people like Seana McGuire and Amanda Palmer for asking for money, so they can make the kind of art they want and not just what some douche bag exec thinks will make an evil company money. But, I still feel like a spanger, and a user when I think about asking for money. That's when I remembered Amanda Palmer's book and her Ted talk by the same name.
If you haven't seen the talk, stop now, right this fucking second and watch it. Ted Talk click that link and watch it. I have seen it dozens of times. I am kind of a Ted Talk junky, you will see that theme in my blog a lot. (Did you know that the constitution of the United Sates of America has a built in clause in it, that you can go get a bunch of people together and rewrite the Constitution, write a draft and take it to the states and if they vote to they can ratify the Constitution. In my head when I fantasize about people actually rewriting our Constitution it's the Ted speakers I want to be in that room. They are who I would entrust the future of the world too. But, I digress.) I have also listened to her book several times. If you haven't read it you should, it's called Listening to her read the book is what I would recommend, over reading it yourself, but it's so good either way. Seriously borrow it from the library, it's free, and you should read it. She talks about the profound way that you interact with people when you ask for help. She was the 8ft Bride, standing on a street corner asking for money in exchange for a flower, and she talks about how in that moment where you are asking and they are responding with a yes it's profound for both parties.
So, if have listened to her book several times (by the way the first time I listened to the book I was on a 23 hour car ride by myself. I finished the book for the first time and immediately started it over. Literally the ending played and I grabbed my phone and restarted the book. It was that profound to me.) SO, why can't I seem to get over my pants pissing terror at asking for help. Why does it feel so awful to ask the people I am friends with on Facebook for a page view, or a comment, or God forbid money. Maybe I am not as brave as I think I am. If I can't ask people to read my blog, how long am I going to keep writing it so my mother can read it. I have put so many hours into this stupid thing and the longer I go the more content I have created without sharing it the stupider I feel. At first it was; I don't have enough content; I don't have anywhere to share the content I have; now it's just fear that keeps me from sharing it, from asking people for anything.
So here goes. I pushed publish on Patreon, and I posted my Patreon to my Facebook, and I asked people to read my stuff. I am asking. I am putting the request out into the universe. My mom is a big believer in telling the universe what you want. When I was little, anything I wanted I had to say out loud. An A on a test, to win a horse show. Even now, I will say out loud at work what I am going to do that day; I will get a today. I am in sales, I have quotas, and goals, and I make a commission. So I am saying it here; I need help. I need people to subscribe, and like, and comment, and yes, give me money, but mostly I have to stop just posting stuff that no one will ever see. If I am going to masturbate there are far easier and more fulfilling ways to do so than a blog, that's not even about sex. Hell, at least my stories are about sex, if no one reads them, I had fun writing them and it didn't cost me anything to write them.