Yesterday, I applied for a grant. I think bloggers should get paid… something. It’s a hobby, yes, but it’s also a job. People rely on us for reading material. A few of the bloggers I follow have set up Patreon accounts. This is a blog-specific eCommerce interface, they call it croudfunding, where followers can make a one-time contribution or a recurring monthly payment. I think the mindset is “You like my blog, you ought to be paying for it.”
Other bloggers take a less direct, and in my mind, a much nicer approach. They ask you to buy them a cup of coffee. This is simply a link to Paypal.
Some bloggers run advertisements, they’re paid by the click. I asked a blogging friend how she did with her ads. “Oh, I make about a quarter a month.” Don’t laugh, it’s three dollars more than I make each year.
A year ago, I put a message in my sidebar: Blogging is a curious hobby. Lots of work, lots of stress, not much tangible reward. If you’d like to give something back, please buy my book. It’s only $4, and it’s surprisingly good. If you click on this message, you’re taken to my Amazon page. How often does it work? I’m pretty sure it never has.
My laptop is dying, again. It seems like it’s only been two years since the last one went, but really, it’s probably been four. Still, a decent laptop is a big expense, and if there’s one thing I wish my writing would fund, it’s a new laptop every few years.
This is what I sent:
Your name: Jeff Cann
Your email: email@example.com
Project title: The Other Stuff
Project website: http://jefftcann.com
About the project (2000 characters):
Teeth on edge, scraping, my jaw gliding, forward and back, chin bobbing an undancable beat. Enamel upon enamel, microscopic fragments cascade in a daily toothfall. Year by year, eroding my smile to a border of graying stumps. Spearmint gum dredged from the glove-box restores a sense of calm. – from “The Motions of Tourette” published on “The Other Stuff.”
I don’t need $1,000, but $773.76 would surely help. My laptop is expiring. The hinge of the screen is breaking away from its base. This is how my last one died—slowly, with lots of duct tape. I blog. Yes, everyone blogs. Mine is pretty good. Four years ago, I created a blog about running. “Running, Writing, Other Stuff,” that’s what I called it. But there’s only so much you can write about running. Now it’s just called “The Other Stuff.” What other stuff? Tourette Syndrome; mental health; cultural opinion; a bit of running. It’s a blog of introspection, of awareness, of education.
I write essays, poetry and creative nonfiction. Twice I’ve distilled my work into books. Memoirs, essentially. I’m told they help people sort out their life. But my books don’t earn much money. One is actually free. And so, I’m requesting a ____________ Foundation grant—enough money for a laptop, Microsoft Word and a protection plan. My family isn’t wealthy. We’re not destitute either, but we make our dollars count. My cash outlay to pursue writing is laden with guilt. We need to replace the family room sofa too.
My blog URL is jefftcann.com. Not very catchy, I know. I was trying to turn myself into a brand. I launched it with my first book, hoping to become wealthy. Now I just want to write. I want to create, experiment, communicate and then share my output with my two thousand followers… on a laptop that isn’t falling apart.
Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this grant. This is a generous thing you do. The world clearly needs more support for the arts right now.
About me (500 characters):
Me: Old(ish), married with two teenagers, living in Gettysburg, PA. By day I manage finances at the Adams County Library System, and at night I try to craft words into something special. I initially started writing to try to understand the mental stuff that makes living difficult: Tourette Syndrome, as well as the anxiety and OCD that accompany it. In my writing life, my blog and my two books count as my proudest achievements. Receiving this grant would be added to that list.
My application has been received, and I’m awaiting a response. Success seems unlikely, but I had fun applying.
Have you ever tried something like this?