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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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lizmonster

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On one hand, this is absolutely correct. I think it is a bit pointless to engage in malignant moaning about the arts when the arts have never paid well. After all, human beings could technically live without film, books, or what have you. It makes sense doctors get paid more.

On the other hand, even if writing is something done on the side, it's frustrating that capitalism punishes people for not spending every waking second trying to achieve more and more financial success. Writing is not always fiction writing, but to focus on fiction writing for just a moment, it's hard to justify writing a "story" if there's no guarantee it'll make money when you need to pay for your car, you want your kids to go to the """best""" college/high school/etc., and you need to work late to get a raise. The hamster wheel of pressure and guilt about not being productive exhausts me, and I'm not broke, so I can hardly imagine how exhausting it must be for someone in an absolutely dire financial situation, especially if they're being told "poverty is the result of personal failings" in ways both big and small.

Capitalism does bleed people. Not going to argue with you there. And while most people recognize the importance of art in their lives, our capitalist society isn't set up to reward those producing it. This both reduces the number of people who can afford to produce art, and prices that art out of the reach of a lot of people.

This is why I love libraries.
 

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The way libraries work is such an amazing model for how a lot of things "could be," and I guarantee if they didn't exist but were proposed today half the country would say it's "giving people free handouts."

What gives me hope is that communities in cities (from what I've seen living in DC, and to be clear once again while I don't make anything close to good money I'm not broke) go out of their way to be accommodating to those who otherwise wouldn't have opportunities in the arts. There's a poetry group for former inmates, a lot of free writers workshops, and a ton of community based resource. That gives me some measure of optimism. In terms of actual job prospects, though, be they writing copy for University brochures or writing sci fi operas about rebirth for the Met, there are still barriers to success. Not impossible to leap barriers, but barriers nonetheless

*Edit because of typo*
 

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...and yet that hasn't stopped me from responding to your posts where you're posited bad faith argument after bad faith argument. I feel like we're having two separate arguments. I'm discussing the prospect of people who want to write being able to write, and you seem to be talking about the possibility of any human being -- regardless of interest in writing -- to be able to write.
If I need help modding, I'll be sure to contact you. Not.

You might want to stop now, and read The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write.
 
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You're handwaving the discussion entirely, suggesting that we shouldn't talk about options for people who can't afford the time or money to attend things like writing conferences, while criticizing and dismissing people who offer alternatives. Given that you likely know the alternatives already, that's a fine place for you to lecture down at us from. For the rest of us who don't know about those opportunities -- and come from places where those things were never raised as options (including people who worked full-time jobs to pay to go to school full-time where professors suggested that you send in fiction proposals to agents rather than full manuscripts) -- that's a little cheeky, especially when you're suggesting people actually in this discussion don't matter because there are people living in horrific environments.

And there's something hypocritical about extolling the virtues of supporting writers while knocking writers as not struggling enough because they have "luxuries" like internet and electricity; tearing down writers within this community while playing up the difficulties of people who in many cases have zero interest in writing (and that's not getting into some inherently problematic beliefs and assumptions).

Personally, I'd like to learn about options that you were likely told about by people who didn't try to derail the discussion at the time by bringing up how much better you have it than other people, or try to turn things into a contest of who had what worse (which is offensive for any number of reasons).

But sorry for coming to AW in hopes of learning something about writing, instead of coming here to be lectured about the subject of relative privilege from somebody -- where at least writing is concerned -- is almost certainly relatively more privileged than me, given that until a year ago I knew less than nothing because I'd been told lots of bad information over the years .



Privilege? You mean like attaching your worldview and priorities to those other groups? Or being in a position where you already know all of the answers so you can feel about derailing discussions designed to help people who don't have the same informational resources you've had?

But sure, instead of focusing on the helping the people here in a discussion devoted to helping people here, feel free to put them down for not carting water kilometers per day.
Again, use the Report post button, rather than engaging in personal attacks. Because I'm absolutely not going to tolerate that. At all.

Discuss ideas, statements and words. Don't make it personal.
 

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Yes. If culturally-oppressed and -abused children would just use parts of their brains they haven't grown yet to...

Oh. Wait...
Just frustrating as a teacher when they come into class neArly asleep because they have been up to 2 am gaming on expensive electronics…

That is poor fiscal and time management choices…
 

mccardey

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Just frustrating as a teacher when they come into class neArly asleep because they have been up to 2 am gaming on expensive electronics…

That is poor fiscal and time management choices…
I just want to take a moment to point out to every mod ever that I am not adding heat to this.

Please appreciate how very far I have come.
 

mccardey

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Just frustrating as a teacher when they come into class neArly asleep because they have been up to 2 am gaming on expensive electronics…

That is poor fiscal and time management choices…
Could I ask - have you taught kids from wealthier socio-economic backgrounds? Did they sometimes turn up for class nearly asleep because they'd been up till 2:00am gaming on expensive electronics?
 

lizmonster

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Could I ask - have you taught kids from wealthier socio-economic backgrounds? Did they sometimes turn up for class nearly asleep because they'd been up till 2:00am gaming on expensive electronics?

Is this the part where I talk about all the people I went to school with who slept through entire days of classes because we they were up all night playing bridge?
 

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Just frustrating as a teacher when they come into class neArly asleep because they have been up to 2 am gaming on expensive electronics…

That is poor fiscal and time management choices…

Well, not really... it's poor time management on behalf of the kid (kids of any family income bracket will do stuff like this), but to make assumptions about the parents' fiscal management based on that is... well, highly presumptuous. And what's it got to do with parents' time management?

For a start, the kid could be lying about why they are tired. If a kid's in a vulnerable situation, do you really think they're going to say so in front of the class, "sorry, I'm exhausted because my parents were arguing until 2am and I only had toast and butter for tea because we've got no other food in the house, so I couldn't sleep?"

Even if they were playing games, you can get electronics second hand or even free. My kids got a free Wii console plus several games (at the time they were really good games - they're all a bit dated now...) because a family member didn't want them any more.

I hear this sort of argument a lot from relatively wealthy people.;.. doubting the extent of poverty because they apparently see poor kids in expensive clothes/with expensive things... In poorer communities, people tend to give stuff away rather than chuck it away. Kids' clothes often go through several families. People buy stuff second hand or someone else doesn't want it any more and you're not going to say no if offered it. And when you no longer have use of it, give it away to someone else or a charity shop*. Even clothing that's completely knackered can still have a use as a cloth and save you money on dish cloths.

*I think in the USA you say thrift store rather than charity shop... a charity shop takes donations of goods, clothes, etc, then it sells them at budget prices and donates the profits to charity. There are loads of these in the UK. Some of the bigger ones, e.g. British Heart Foundation, even sell second hand furniture and electronics.

So yeah... please don't make assumptions.

And I promise this post isn't sponsored by the British Heart Foundation BUT in the spirit of the original intention of this thread... if you are a writer (or anyone) in the UK and are struggling financially and happen to not already know about the British Heart Foundation charity shops... they do some very decent second hand furniture in excellent nick for great prices and some branches sell electronics (thoroughly safety tested). (Also if you're rich and want someone to take away furniture you don't need any more.... )
 

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Just frustrating as a teacher when they come into class neArly asleep because they have been up to 2 am gaming on expensive electronics…

That is poor fiscal and time management choices…
And you're...blaming the kids for this?

You, as a teacher, may understand prioritizing sleep and schoolwork/homework are the better choices for building a future, but many children and teens don't. Many of them have frightening todays, they can't allow themselves to think about tomorrow, let alone understand the steps necessary, access the supports necessary, to turn fantasies into dreams they can work towards. And on a less cerebral level, many will come from households where they don't have a separate space for themselves to do homework or go to sleep when the rest of the people in their home are awake. Some are awake late taking care of younger siblings. Some will arrive at school late every day because they're taking care of an elderly family member.

I do wonder if you've worked with kids from other socio-economic backgrounds. I have three (now adult) children, they went to mostly different schools (it's a NY thing, kids don't generally go to zoned schools, but whichever schools accept them). One of mine went to a fancy public elementary, where kids have to test to get an interview, etc, and he was one of only a handful eligible for free lunch. Many of these kids would have gone to private, independent day schools (at the time, tuition was around $35K a year for those schools, now over $50K, to give you a handle on what I'm describing) had they not gotten into this school. Many of them falling asleep in class, just as many as in other schools. There were more complaints about assigned homework from parents, more missed days, than I ever saw in the Title 1 (at least 40% poverty level) schools. The difference? Those kids got private tutors to make up for any missed homework/schoolwork, really great private enrichment programs, there was an extra adult in each classroom paid for by the heavily funded PTA, lots of paras not because of special needs kids who needed them, but a principal who was very savvy about how to work the system so there could be more hands and help, teachers more understanding and willing to excuse absences, and of course, those special projects were more than half done by nannies & or parents. These children also tended to be well nourished, which makes a huge difference. They didn't live in apartments with chipped floors and walls releasing asbestos into their lungs, crawling with roaches and mice to trigger constant asthma attacks, necessitating regular trips to the ER. They lived in a world where all most of the adults in their lives worked well paying jobs, had not only attended college, but well known and respected ones for both undergrad and graduate degrees.

And maybe some of those kids in the Title 1 schools work really hard, have a bit of support? And maybe some significant percentage of those kids get to junior/senior year of high school and have an overworked college counselor with an impossible case load, who's happy to tell them sure, that mercenary for-profit "college" is college, will get them good jobs, go ahead and sign for those loans--now that counselor is keeping the numbers up for the school, look at us, % going on to some form of higher ed, and the other adults in their lives don't have the lived experience to know the difference.

While there are basic commonalities amongst us here on AW, we all come from different lives, different parts of the world, different experiences, different writing goals. Our goal here on the board is to help and support each other where we can. In this thread, it's tips about how to be a low or no budget writer, and that must include and respect those different goals and experiences.
I just want to take a moment to point out to every mod ever that I am not adding heat to this.

Please appreciate how very far I have come.
You're a better woman than I.
 

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For a start, the kid could be lying about why they are tired. If a kid's in a vulnerable situation, do you really think they're going to say so in front of the class, "sorry, I'm exhausted because my parents were arguing until 2am and I only had toast and butter for tea because we've got no other food in the house, so I couldn't sleep?"

I expect it's more than that. If a kid doesn't know their situation is unusual, why would they use it to explain themselves? How is a child in a disrupted household (which, as has been said, is hardly income-dependent) going to understand what a "normal" household is like?

Food and housing insecurity can make things like basic concentration and time management nearly impossible. This is not the fault of the kid, and standing over them and saying "You should manage your time better" is kind of like standing over me and saying "You should improve your neurosurgery skills." I would have absolutely no idea where to begin.

And yeah. Non-poor kids screw around as well. Somehow nobody blames that on whether or not they have an XBox.

I hear this sort of argument a lot from relatively wealthy people.;.. doubting the extent of poverty because they apparently see poor kids in expensive clothes/with expensive things...

Yeah: "They can't be poor if they have a cell phone!" Apart from the variety of inexpensive cell phones out there - have you tried doing almost anything without a cell phone these days? It's not a luxury item, not anymore.
 

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Here's another example: My kid's got a 504 plan. For those unfamiliar/outside the US: a 504 plan is a formal list of accommodations the school will make for her disability. Legally, the school must abide by the plan.

In order to get a 504 plan, you need a diagnosis. This requires visits to a doctor. Visits to a doctor require time and money.

Turns out it can be kind of a pain to get a school to abide by the plan. In our case, we've been lucky; she's had individual teachers who've been eye-rolly about it (her disability is invisible), but for the most part the administration has been supportive. Still, there have been hurdles, and that's with all of us working together.

I'm trying to imagine a kid, poor or otherwise, who can't get diagnosed. I'm trying to imagine their teachers, watching a kid they know is perfectly bright be distracted and underperforming. It's got to be frustrating all around.

But mostly for the kid.
 

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I'm going to lock this. When I have the time, I'll sort out the worth keeping and idiocy.

I don't have time for this.

ETA: I've divided the thread into two threads. I'm going to move the thread to Roundtable where a kind-hearted and possibly mad mod has volunteered to shepherd it.

But while I'm on my soapbox, I'm going to use it.

* If you are hungry or exhausted because you couldn't sleep while your mom was servicing customers in the bed room while you were on the couch, your parents were fighting, the heating bill hadn't been paid and it was too cold to sleep, you are going to be tired the next day at school. These are all things that happened to kids I went to school with.

* If you are "learning disabled" you are not encouraged, quite frequently, to learn much of anything. You are parked. Had I not had overly educated parents, I would never have learned to read or write.

* If you do not have transportation you can't get to a public library. If you have younger siblings or children, you can't take them with you while you use a public terminal for an hour to write. The number of rural communities without broadband just in the U.S. is staggering. If I walk twenty feet from where I am, there's no cell signal, of any sort, at all. The number of U.S. households with neither broadband or a computer or tablet is surprisingly high, particularly given the current students trying to learn remotely.

* Having a cell phone is currently about half the price of a limited use land-line where I am. I just checked.
 
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Ari Meermans

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Okay, so now it's my turn. I asked for this break-out thread for RT—as I quite often do—because I, like Harlequin and Lisa, would like to see the original "Writing While Broke" thread in BWQ preserved as a resources-and-support thread.

And, also because I see a germ of something worth exploring in this discussion despite its warts. There are some very smart posts in this thread like this one (particularly the second paragraph which should spur some helpful thinking), this one, and this one. There are others too but I ain't a-gonna do all your work for you. Go back and read with an eye to contributing something worthwhile to the original thread.

So what do you say? Can we put our heads together and work together to come up with recommendations to benefit those without our level(s) of privilege regarding access as well as funds? Can we come up with "I've been there and this is what I did to overcome it" type suggestions?

Now a bit of housekeeping:

1. I expect and welcome some heat in the discussion; light often produces heat, after all. But you all absolutely will Respect Your Fellow Writers.

2. Judging the size and shape of paths you've never trod will not be tolerated.

3. Violating either #1 or #2 above will get you banned from the thread and possibly banned from Roundtable. That's just how serious I am about those two requirements.

4. I'll change the title when y'all give me something hot to hang our hats on.
 

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I'll go first.

I've never been flat broke or food insecure. I've also never had to work so many hours for pay that I had no free time to write.

I have experienced the 'guilt' -- self imposed, due to internalised guilt -- of writing without any tangible benefits to me or mine. To attempt to counteract this, I started writing outside my preferred genre to produce pieces I had no trouble selling. Not for large sums, admittedly, not for enough to make any difference to the household budget, but at the time it did help make me feel a bit less like me writing was a time-waster.
 

mccardey

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I'll go first.

I've never been flat broke or food insecure. I've also never had to work so many hours for pay that I had no free time to write.

I have experienced the 'guilt' -- self imposed, due to internalised guilt -- of writing without any tangible benefits to me or mine. To attempt to counteract this, I started writing outside my preferred genre to produce pieces I had no trouble selling. Not for large sums, admittedly, not for enough to make any difference to the household budget, but at the time it did help make me feel a bit less like me writing was a time-waster.
I'll go second. I wrote advertising copy. It was deeply shaming of course, but the money was a comfort ;)

One of the things I did want to see discussed was raised by - hang on - Lizmonster (#35) and someone else mentioned it too, though that may be in the Solomon* thread. It's that idea of being born into a life where reading, and loving to read is contentious even in childhood. There is a kind of shame that attaches to kids in that situation. I've known it myself, and I've seen it since, in other families, where a kid is derided for being lazy and wanting to read or being a brain and a show-off, or just - not one of us.

It has an effect, that sort of thing. That's why I mentioned before and will again that if you can support kids who love to read, who are perhaps isolated from people who share that love, it's good to find ways to help them.

Was is also Lizmonster who said we lose so much good art? I think that's very true, and very sad.


ETA: *Solomon because of the cutting-in-two thing.

ETA2: Thanks for this, Ari - it will interesting to see where it leads.
 

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That's why I mentioned before and will again that if you can support kids who love to read, who are perhaps isolated from people who share that love, it's good to find ways to help them.
I would add a caveat that it's important to support them in ways that their family will approve of.

I tried this once by buying my ~10 year old niece a subscription to a kid's magazine that published age-appropriate fantasy short stories. Her mother burnt every copy before my niece could see them because she believed that fantasy (including Harry Potter, which had just hit fame at that time) was demonic as it could feature witches as characters. :(
 
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I would add a caveat that it's important to support them in ways that their family will approve of.

I tried this once by buying my ~10 year old niece a subscription to a kid's magazine that published age-appropriate fantasy short stories. Her mother burnt every copy before my niece could see them because she believed that fantasy (including Harry Potter, which had just hit fame at that time) was demonic as it could feature witches as characters. :(
Yes, I agree with that. It's also important that you're not seen as playing favourites - but still, a kid doesn't need much to feel more secure. You can be friend to the family, and model that reading is a thing that you do, too. You can go to everyone's sports day, but also talk to the kid about Book Day.

I think it's more about modelling than intruding, and more about respecting and opening up than judging and closing down. I'm aware that this sounds dreadfully sanctimonious, but I mention it because it's something I had to learn. Like a lot of kids from less-than-ideal backgrounds, my tendency for most of my life was towards an immediate, defensive shut-down of things that I didn't understand. It still catches me sometimes.
 
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