A little experiment: Sharing the love at Patreon

So, here’s an interesting thing – I have a favour to ask. Would you be willing to be part of an experiment with me?

Back in September, I shared how I was moving most, if not all, my spontaneous creative work to Patreon. It’s why I’ve been so quiet here since.

A small number of people followed me over there, and I’ve been posting fairly regularly – new songs, impromptu jams, an unfinished novel, prompted poetry – you know, that sort of thing…

I’d like to get more people there but I came across something really, really ANNOYING about Patreon’s functionality.

Put simply, it’s REALLY difficult to find artists on Patreon, unless they’re already successful.

The flip-side of this is that it’s nearly impossible for an artist to find patrons on Patreon! Basically, you have to build audience elsewhere, and get them to Patreon to pay you.

[Patreon then reaps the reward of your hard work through their fee]

Sigh… Such is the way of things in the arts on the internet.

Still, it got me thinking – and the idea for my little experiment began to form.

Here it is in a nutshell:

For every 5 patrons I have at Patreon, I will ask the community to tell me 3 undiscovered artists who I can, in turn, sponsor on Patreon.

Basically, each one of my patrons will actually be sponsoring 1.6 artists just by sponsoring me at Patreon

[8 artists sponsored by 5 Patrons]

Though, of course, in reality it’s me sponsoring the extra 3.

[and yes, passing on 60% of my sponsorship]

My self-interest is simply to be able to afford to keep making music, writing books, and offering them to the world – but to be able to do that while also helping others do the same is just amazing.

So, here’s my question: Are you willing to be part of my experiment?

If so, all you need to do is sponsor me at Patreon – here are the per-month levels:

  • $1 – No reward – just for those who want to help me do what I do
  • $1 – Music Fan – you receive a physical and digital copy of any new CD I release
  • $2 – Avid Reader – you will receive a hard- or e-copy of any new novel I release
  • $10 – SUPERFAN! – you will receive physical and digital copies of any new CD or Novel I release, and private invitation to special events online and face-to-face

And, of course, you can choose to pay more than those subscription levels, but the amounts above are the minimum to get going.

So what say you? Are you willing to help me help you help my sisters and brothers in art?

Sponsor me at Patreon

Back to RUFUS

Today, for the first time in almost a year, I added new words to RUFUS, one of my novels-in-progress.

I’m going to let that sink in for a moment

[for myself, more than for you, sorry]

The longest I shelved a novel – or at least one that got finished – was the 5 years when Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? sat at 60 pages. I’ve written about the whys and wherefores of that block several times before, so I won’t cover the ground again. Besides, it’s hardly been an idle time since I last wrote, though the pendulum has swung far towards my musical self, with the release of Grope, Writer’s Flow and Turquoise Cyan Sapphire.

For now, all that’s important is that I added words to RUFUS today – and intend to add more tomorrow

[and yes, I was writing to Writer’s Flow – Music For Writing – you should really try it yourself]

All that’s important is that I recognize the act in its moment: I am a writer; I am writing.

In Swan Song, Robert R McCammon has a recurring line for one of his lead characters, Sister Creep:

One step and then the next, gets you where you’re going.

[incidentally, I’m using that as a pace chant when out running – it works really well!]

Over the years, I’ve gained many insights about writing and writers block. They all help me know. And the simplest is:

One word and then the next, gets the book written.

I am a writer; I am writing.

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Thursday Insight – Interesting times indeed

Those following along at home will know that I’ve been fairly quiet of late

[aside from lots of posts linking songs and videos]

There’s a good reason of course: this artistic  life doesn’t keep the roof over our heads, nor food on the table and, frankly, I needed to get some paying work. Which I did. But to do so, I took a very structured choice to put all

[pure]

creative projects on hold. I couldn’t give myself fully to growing my business while also diving deep into the pool. Neither effort would be successful – and, while my soul needs creativity to be successful, a LOT more rides upon my ability to put food on the table. It was a weird time all right, and I can’t say I fully enjoyed the sensation of constraining my creative energies.

But it is what it is

[and I still played the guitar throughout!]

Business done, and can now turn my attention back to those projects that have been lingering:

  • Grope – the record progress well, some vocals to retrack and mixing, but it’s sounding pretty much as I wanted it to.
  • Vincent Tuckwood Band – I’ve recorded and performed my original music in a band setting as Monkey68 for a number of years. With the release of Sparse, and my solo work under my own name, beginning to get some traction, like my recent public access television appearance:

    it doesn’t make sense to maintain two separate brands – so Monkey68 will be retained for more esoteric recording excursions, but the band will now be under my own name.

  • RUFUS – this novel was about 30,000 words in when I put things on hold, I like what I have, and Rufus (and his journey) is pretty cool, though I admit I have some story arcs to refine before I can take it much further, not least of which is the presence of a very dangerous, yet passive suite of bad guys – they’re bad all right, it’s just that a lot of it’s under cover – I have to figure them out before I can go much further.
  • ASYLUM – originally a short film project (that got to about 1/5 of its funding target via KickStarter), I always knew that Sol’s journey was more than the short film, and over the last few months, the expanded story has been tickling at me – too early to share specifics, but I have begun mapping out the book. Like ESCALATION, I believe it’s going to be a quick write. One thing I do know is the title of the novel, which won’t be Asylum, but I’m not sharing it just yet

[yes, I am a real tease]

It’s interesting to dive back into these pools, and their welcome embrace. Like many artists, I wish I could do so without the constraints of considering where the next buck is coming from, but I’ve managed

[so far]

to balance things out. For a long time now, I’ve been putting faith into building a body of work that folk can dive into  when they become interested. With 4 novels, a handful of screenplays, a poetry collection and one record out, that faith is beginning to feel justified now. With what’s coming it’ll feel even more justified.

Interesting times indeed!

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

Don’t Care Monday!

There’s been a spate of Throwback…

[insert day]

posts on Facebook recently – where people share pictures of their younger selves. Lots of fun, though I haven’t partaken.

Because.

Well, I generally prefer to look forward. Way forward. Like, over the horizon forward.

This is generally a good thing, though it does often leave me at the conclusion of major project – be it a book, record or software release – in something of a postpartum downward spiral. I have a tendency to negate, or at least undervalue, what I’ve produced

[and I’ve produced a lot]

In the back end of last year, I sat myself down and gave myself a good talking to. Barring a miracle, there is no living to be made pursuing my art. I’ve always known that, of course, but I finally stared that reality in it empty eyes and decided enough was enough.

I stopped work on the new novel, Rufus.

I killed the Asylum short film project just as soon as the Kickstarter didn’t make its target

[which was a bit of a chicken and egg with the decision to stop]

I didn’t record the follow up to Sparse

[though I did record the unexpected songs that make up Grope – yet to be finished and released]

and I turned attention to my business, which had been ticking away in the back of things. I’ve since spent the time coding up a cloud-based service which is up and running, and about to get publicized. Unless you’re into Organization Development, you won’t see it – I think it’s got great potential, but I need to put all my weight behind it to make it successful.

I’ll write again, of course I will. I’ll keep making music, of course I will. And all those projects will find the right voice at the right time.

But, as ever, tonight I’m feeling that postpartum dive of

It’s finished, and no one cares… so what’s next?

I know this. I am this. I need neither sympathy nor kind words

[though a hug doesn’t ever go amiss]

I just need to keep moving.

And because I know that in the dive I have a tendency to withdraw, I’ve learnt that I have to make a conscious effort to put myself out in the world.

To that end, I’ve just posted the complete screenplay for Asylum for no other reason than my knowing it’s not getting made any time soon, and I’d rather you read it than it stay locked in my laptop.

I wish I’d had the chance to make it, and maybe someday I will – but for now, let’s just make it my offering to Don’t Care Monday.

Thursday Insight – When the writing isn’t writing

I was working on the new novel

[RUFUS – coming up on 29,000 words as of this morning, just entered act 2]

this morning and had a total falling-through-the-page session.

I was  lost in the conversation between Rufus and Mac, where much of what’s been confusing Rufus in act 1 is made clear. What fun; writing as fluidity, and finally releasing the pressure I’d been building up for over 200 pages

[of my draft, at least]

Anyone who writes, whether fiction or otherwise, has experienced this level of flow, or at least I hope so

[and, if not, have you considered Writers Unblocked?]

When I was writing Escalation, I adopted for the first time a practice of limiting my writing on the book to a daily quota – in productivity terms, it worked very well, with the first draft being written in a little over four months. In sanity terms, it worked exceptionally well, no block, no doubt, just the sheer joy of the writing.

My current practice is to write one word and then the next, with a commitment to write a minimum of 1,000 words a day.

Now, that may not sound like much, but if I were a machine, it would bring one of my novels from idea to finished draft in around 3 months; more than acceptable!

If I go over the 1,000, I don’t beat myself up, but I have developed a near muscle-memory ability to notice this and wind down soon thereafter – It leaves me fulfilled but not burnt out, so maybe its a simple protective mechanism?

Today, when I finished writing my quota, I was reflecting on how the writing feels; that time-line of 3 months for a book, and how for a screen-play my expectations would be totally different. Not only is the type of writing different – in my view, novels encompass past, present, future and alternate universes in time and space, while screenplays may draw upon those factors but stay so very present-tense in the writing – but I also think the process is fundamentally different.

You see, my expectation and experience of screen-writing, tell me that the first draft is done QUICKLY – I’m talking a matter of days, if not hours. Very, very different from  my novels. But where my books come out at least 90% of where they end up after review and editing

[and, in Escalation’s case, it was >98% done on that first draft]

I know that screenplays take multiple, multiple re-drafts.

The closest metaphor I’ve got for myself is that writing novels is like planting, nurturing and growing a garden – it becomes what it will be under these typing green fingers. A screenplay, though, is like bonsai – a first crude cut that kind-of-sort-of has the potential to be the perfect shape of something much larger than itself – the bonsai artist works in minute detail on the specific, with an eye to its relation to the whole.

That’s what screen-writing is for me, bonsai – which is why my experience of writing the two different formats is so different experientially. I rarely fall through the page while working on screenplays, though there are moments of joy when a page of dialogue suddenly contracts to one sentence, or a look from one character, or a symbolic image, which is as perfect as a tiny, clipped branch. Those moments can be very satisfying, though there is much work and focus to get them.

Do I prefer either format? I don’t think so, not really. So long as the story is compulsive enough, and fits the format I’m in, I’m a happy boy.

Right now, RUFUS is moving forward, and our itinerant songster with an unexpected mission to fulfill is happy to let me walk his path.

And, as ever, that’s good enough for me!

Love-Peace-Trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

 

Call It Stormy Monday

Feel free to play this in the background as you read this post:

Because, while it may have nothing to do with what I’m about to write

[except for its title, of course]

it is a really nice take on the T-Bone Walker classic.

Anyway.

I wrote recently about One-way Reciprocity, so  am not going to retread that ground, save to say that at the time of writing that post, I was half-way down a one-way street.

Today, I’m at it’s familiar dead-end.

I had some response to that post, several people taking me aside and sharing their

[delusions]

wisdom as to how I should feel, and what I should do.

Shoulds. Ugh.

But, as I wrote, there is a recurring pattern at work – here are its component parts:

  1. Make something happen.
  2. Offer it to the world in the hope that some may benefit or enjoy the something.
  3. Feel the joy of a small number of people ‘getting it’…
  4. Only to have it quickly drowned out by the apathy, or even null reaction of many others.
  5. Get disillusioned, disheartened, disappointed.
  6. Take it out on people I love and care for.
  7. Gather up energy from dwindling reserves.
  8. Go back to 1 and make something happen again.

I’ve lived in this cycle for all my life. And I do mean ALL my life.

[so, please do NOT presume to tell me how it should feel, what it should mean to me, or how I should be willing to persevere]

Essentially, I’ve been living the maxim

Insanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results

And, as the KickStarter for Asylum fails to make its funding target, I’ve decided I’m not going to do that any more.

I am breaking the pattern, so that I might better meet my needs and those of people who want to be along for the ride

[like the 20 people who did choose to back Asylum]

You see, I’ve realized that I can cut out steps 4-7 and still have the same net result for myself and the world – only now, the pattern produces an upward energy flow, rather than a negative downward spiral.

The first step is simple, it’s not to open myself to number 4.

I am no longer giving my energy to people who do not care for me. You can have your apathy and self-centered universe, I want no part of your world. I’m tired of trying to persuade you, cajole you, hold you, love you. I’m tired of trying to gain your attention and letting myself be disappointed when I fail to do so, or when you choose not to act upon my offer.

And, as I cannot change you, I can only change me.

I am taking the weight of my expectation off your shoulders.

I’m cutting myself some slack.

I am breaking the pattern.

It’s very possible that I may drop off your radar. If that’s a problem for you, let me know.

In the meantime, if you want me, I’ll be over here making something happen that you might just benefit from, or enjoy.

Thank you for reading, you have my love.

Vince Sig 131x89

Hey, Miley Cyrus, why don’t you…

It must have seemed like a good idea to someone. Because I can’t believe that  this stunt was the brainchild of one person, no matter how gifted or depraved or misled or inspired or…

Well, just any other word, I guess – this thing reeks

[ooh, there’s a word I’ve never used on this blog before – I have been reading the Game of Thrones box-set, however, and as one character is forced to adopt the name Reek, I guess it’s hardly surprising that it’s bumping around in my sub-conscious]

of corporately managed, manicured, over-the-top scandal-in-a-can, with it’s nod to historical scandalous performances and storm-in-a-tea-cup controversies.

[Wait…]

[Wait…]

[Wait…]

OK. Good.

See, I was inspired by a humorous piece in The Onion t’other day: Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning.

The non-specific, yet somehow close enough to the subject to perhaps be legitimate, content at the start is for all those summarizing link engines/RSS feeds. Because I’m really interested to see how much traffic this post’s title drives to my blog.

You’ll notice I’m not commenting on anything. Not expressing an opinion. Not judging anything. Not talking to specifics, or even mentioning anything at all.

So let’s see how many people come to the blog in response.

And just so I don’t turn into a bandwagon jumping, self-serving parasite, I’m not going to mention anything about the writing of my new novel, or the kickstarter campaign for my short film, or… well, any of it

[though I do reserve the right to be able to do so in other posts]

I do commit to share, at a later date, the traffic stats for this post – which is really nothing to do with anything, except how a celebrity’s name might tweak a search engine’s interest.

Vince Sig 131x89