It is set up as a transactional platform, but it's using terminology where the patron/artist should be creating a deep relationship.
It's hard for me to explain through written words, but I'll try...
The traditional patron/artist relationship is where wealthy individuals give money to an artist because they believe in that person's artistic expression.
As an example, patrons would pay for the artist's studio space, or provide money so the artist can cover their living expenses.
If the artist produced art that month, great. If they went two or three months without producing anything, that's okay too.
Because the patron isn't giving money to the artist to finance the production of art; the patron is giving money to the artist so she has the physical and mental space to produce art.
This came up for me when a patron contacted me privately...
She was feeling guilty for not consuming the weekly writing prompts. I told her to get to them when she had time. She was relieved.
Then, a patron left the community saying she couldn't keep up with the weekly writing prompts. That was her reason for cancelling her $3/month access to this exclusive community.
I'm glad that both these patrons reached out to me because it got me thinking about why I'm here on Patreon...
I'm here to share my truth.
I'm here to share my stories.
I'm here to share the characters and worlds I create to help us make better sense of the world we're currently living in.
I'm here to help my patrons understand that as a first generation Canadian of Jamaican descent with French and West African ancestry, I'm more nuanced than the appearance of my marginalized identities.
That there are many layers to Leesa Renee Hall.
And, along the way, I share writing prompts to help you, my patron, use the the same powerful questions I used to unpack, untangle, and unravel internal oppression.
The intent behind Patreon is to connect patrons with artists...
But what's actually happening is that patrons are equating their funding with production. That if the artist doesn't produce, or produces too much, the patron pulls their funding.
This is a capitalist mindset. Always be producing and as a result, you'll always be paid. If you don't produce, you don't get paid.
Instead of transactions, think relationships...
Wikipedia describes Patreon as as way for creators (a catch-all phrase which includes artists, writers, musicians, podcasters, illustrators, videographers):
"to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or 'patrons'."
Patrons should be enjoying experiences (not just content) and building a relationship with the creators whom they're funding.
The content is the result, not of the money being paid, but of the peace that the money provides.
Because if enough patrons fund the creator, the writer, artist, podcaster, etc., no longer has to expend unnecessary energy worrying about how they're going to pay rent, or buy food, or purchase health insurance, or [insert financial worry].
I recently recorded a video to my patrons sharing this very message. They nourish me financially so I have the space to write, and in return, I nourish them with my writings when they become available.
As a writer, there may be a period when I really do not feel inspired to write. That period could last two weeks. It could last two months.
(of course, the likelihood of this happening is rare because I write every day. That's a habit that I've formed on over the past 12-months)
And as a writer, trying to deliver something every Thursday at 3pm feels confining and suffocating.
I say all of this to encourage creators to set the right expectation with patrons.
Patrons are NOT financing the artist's delivery of artistic or written expression every Wednesday at 5pm.
Instead, patrons are helping creators move into a place where they become well-fed artists. Or, in my case, a well-fed writer.
Because truth is produced easier on a full stomach.
If you're already a patron, I say, "Thank you!"
Thank you for trusting me with your unpacking.
If you're not a patron, but would like to become one, I say, "Welcome!"
Click here to become a patron. Choose the reward level that budget, personality, and learning style. And be ready to stick with me for the long haul.