I don’t like talking about money, because frankly, it’s awkward. I don’t like trying to monetise my blog, because I feel it gives the wrong impression about why I do this whole social media thing, and it’s not because I think I could make a career from rambling about my gender crises and writing struggles. I’ve already talked about money too much this year what with the whole ‘YouTube de-monetised my account‘ thing, and it feels weird to bring it up again.
Especially because I’m aware that I’m not that badly off. I don’t have an income at the moment, but I do have a student loan and substantial parental support. I fear for my financial future — what happens when I graduate? Will I find a job for next year? Am I physically strong enough to work full-time and therefore be able to afford to move out, or will I be living at home forever because my health won’t let me work enough hours? I have a lot of paranoia about never being able to afford to live my own life. But at present, I’m in a relatively safe position, and I’m aware that I’m lucky.
So it seems distasteful to complain about not having a lot of money when I’m not actually skint. However… after considering it for a long time, I just set up a Ko-Fi account.
For those who aren’t aware, Ko-Fi is a site where you can tip someone (buy them a coffee) if you like the content they create online. The idea is just to pass on a bit of spare change now and again — it’s not about massive pledges or regular commitments. It’s more, “Hey, that blog post you wrote was really helpful, here’s a tip.” Or, “I’ve used your YouTube video to explain Togail Bruidne Da Derga to my students, I’d like to give you something in return.”
There are a few reasons I decided to make this account.
1) I’m gradually becoming aware that people do actually like my content. Positive comments on my blog posts are one thing; finding out someone I know watched my videos three years before they met me is another.
2) I create a lot of stuff, some of it thoughtful and some of it extremely niche meme material, but I don’t have a lot of ways people can support me financially — my poetry is the only writing I have available to buy, and I think most people who would buy that have already done so.
3) I graduate this summer and don’t yet have a job lined up. My last interview didn’t work out (sad times), and even if I manage to find a job, everything I’ve applied for so far would involve moving to a new town or city. Or potentially staying in Cambridge, which is an extremely expensive place to live.
4) I’m an Irish dancer. This is not a cheap hobby, but it’s one that has had a massively positive impact on my mental and physical health, and which I’d like to continue with for as long as I can. There’s a summer school I’d really like to go on at the University of Limerick (somewhere I’m considering applying for post-grad stuff in the future), but even for just one week, it would cost me nearly eight hundred euros between tuition and accommodation, and that’s not including flights or food. That’s… a lot. Especially with the current crappy exchange rate.
5) Also, my video camera is giving up the ghost, and I can’t make fun dance videos without a decent camera. I fear I’m going to have to replace it soon, which is another big chunk of money.
6) Blog hosting costs money. Making YouTube videos, although I do that extremely infrequently now, isn’t free, particularly if I have to buy a new camera, and I no longer even get pennies from advertising for that. Although I get a lot of ARCs to review for my book blog, I still end up paying for books. And even if I didn’t, I put a lot of hours into maintaining my blogs, which I would like to hope are of some benefit to somebody somewhere.
7) I figured I have nothing to lose — I can always delete the account if it turns out to be a bad idea, and nobody’s obliged to give me anything.
“But,” I hear you say, “why should I give you anything?”
Yeah. Good question. Honestly, I don’t really expect that anybody will, and I certainly don’t think you’re in any way obliged to do so. Absolutely feel free to continue reading my blog and watching my videos without giving me anything for it. This is one of those things like the Amazon associates links on my book blog — it’s rare for anyone to click the links, let alone buy anything, and it’ll probably be several more months before I get over the £10 payment threshold, but I figure it’s worth having it there just in case.
But, here are a few reasons you might:
1) You downloaded Fleeting Ink while it was free and enjoyed it, so you’d like to tip me the book’s regular price.
2) You read my blog regularly and my witty remarks and profound insights (ha) have taught you something. Or maybe it’s my book reviews that you enjoy and which have helped you find new books to read. Or my tweets make you laugh. Or you like my other social media, like Instagram or Tumblr — perhaps you’re in this for the pictures.
3) You enjoy watching the videos and clips I post of me dancing. (For the record: I returned to Irish dance nine months ago. I only take classes during the holidays and have probably taken fewer than ten hard shoe classes in total. If you enjoy my videos now, think how much better they’d be if I was able to take regular classes or go to this summer school.)
4) You have spare change lying around and you’d like to put it towards supporting my writing and dancing dreams. I don’t know what $3 is in real money, but I don’t think it’s a lot.
5) You used to watch my YouTube channel when I actually made videos regularly and you’re hoping that if I got a new camera, I might start making them again. (This is not impossible. A new camera + not being at uni any more = definitely increased potential for videos.)
A few caveats, though. Please don’t donate if you’re skint yourself, if you don’t have an income, if you’re a minor — I don’t want your money. You need it more than I do. If you’re not skint but you can only support one person, I’d rather you chose someone who needs the money to survive. I can manage. I don’t need to go on this summer school, although it would be amazing. And I could probably find the money to pay for it, even if it would take a huge chunk out of my top surgery fund. Dance is a luxury, so if it’s a choice between me and someone who needs the change to pay for groceries, please choose them.
So, with all of that in mind:
If you can, and if you want to.