Summer 2023 Update
An update on current projects and an announcement about the posting schedule....
It’s been some time since I posted a general update. I always intend to come up with some schedule for these—seasonal or bi-monthly or something—but they seem to work best when I just post when it feels right and that time is now!
I’ve been flooded with creative energy and it’s been super great. I’m working on four different art projects (Three Thangkas and Sacred Love/Sacred Lives) and I WROTE A MEMOIR YA’LL. Yes, I wrote an entire memoir in about three weeks. It’s a story I’ve attempted to write out many times before to middling degrees of success. I didn’t have the right combination of distance, insight, and craft in all my previous attempts. But this time? Oh boy…the words just flowed. My brain was *on it* in a way I haven’t felt about a writing project since my adolescence—I’d hyper focus for an hour or two at a time, writing hundreds and sometimes thousands of words every session. It was so effortless I’m still kind of dismayed (in a good way) that it happened at all.
Additionally, I’ve been having a grand time with my art. I’m delighting in my growing Thangka practice and the way the figures I’m working on reveal themselves to me. This process is also proving to be effortless, largely because of my commitment to not pressing to a deadlines or forcing myself to work beyond what feels comfortable. I am able to balance study with drawing, to truly get to know the deities I’m working on, and consider the responsibility I have as one artist of many in this lineage of sacred art.
Speaking of sacred art, I continue to derive great joy from working on the Sacred Love/Sacred Lives series.1 At the time of this writing I have several designs of my own in the works, as well as one collaboration. I’m so enjoying making wonderful connections with my fellow creatives through this series. This art as activism is going a long way to supporting my mental health in the wake of the ever-intensifying bigoted attacks by conservatives on the humanity and liberation of trans and queer folk.
And finally, we come to a conundrum I’m been having about this blog. I’m in an amazing creative groove but blog writing isn’t part of it. For the last few weeks all my attempts to prep anything for it have flopped. My heart isn’t in it and I don’t want to force it when all my other creative outlets are so effortless and the results are so pleasing.
I’d like to say this is fine, because the only person holding me to a schedule for my blog is *drumroll* ME! Only, my blog is the only place where I get paid for my labour on the regular and because have paying subscribers I try to stick to a relatively regular schedule of posts.2
It’s a conundrum because I’m trying to throw off the prescriptive restraints of Capitalism, but here I am in a bind: My heart is not in writing blog content because it’s in writing a memoir (okay, revising it now) and working on art but my paid subscribers pay for regular blog posts and this space is my only regular source of income.
I don’t make a living from my writing or art, and never have.3 My income from Substack for this year has been less than $600. It’s not much and at the same time, it’s money I appreciate so very much and don’t want to risk losing. I also don’t want to publish stuff for the sake of publishing stuff, pumping out content for content’s sake. That’s…not appealing at all.
I know I’m not the only Human on the Internet facing this conundrum. It’s kind of part of the human condition these days—being online at all means you are constantly being marketed to and navigating who to give your money to. Being someone who creates things means being online is constantly trying to figure out how to market yourself to stand out in a crowd, often turning yourself into a product. It’s all intractably intertwined with social media platforms designed to maximize traffic for the sake of advertising and I hate it! It sucks!
The logical thing is to not fret about publishing to my blog because, right now at least, that’s not where my creativity is flourishing. Forcing it feels gross! The results are bad! Why spend my precious time forcing something to keep up with a schedule of my own conception when I could be spending it on things that bring me joy? I’m still making stuff, creating things, but it’s just not ready to share. That’s fine! Unfortunately, this means I may take a hit to what little income I get here, and I get that. Just know, if you are still willing to be a paid subscriber even if I’m not putting out regular content, that the funds you throw my way are being put to good use and are always, always appreciated.
I’m experiencing more creativity than I have in years. I spend eight to ten hours a week making art. I WROTE A MEMOIR which I’m now starting to revise. It feels amazing not to force these things and to put my energy where it feels rich and good and abundant. I feel productive, not in a Capitalist sense, but in a Human Being Expressing Themselves sense.
And the blog?
I’m going to release myself from the obligation of posting something every Wednesday and just see what happens. Which doesn’t mean I won’t be posting things! Obviously I was able to get a post out in relation to Disability Pride month, because it was a piece I had pretty ready to go and the timing suddenly felt totally right. I suspect releasing myself from a set publishing schedule will actually make it easier to post pretty regularly. I can already say that it’s given me back mental space because I’m not longer fretting about and tracking a blog schedule.
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If you are an artist, please check out the page on my site about this project to learn about how you could be a collaborator!
22 paid subscribers at the time of this writing! Thank you! Each of you! It means a lot to me and helps me fund my creative work!
There is a possibility this may change in the coming year due to plots with a fellow writer friend and art projects flourishing! But I never count on it. No matter how much I’d like to make the starving artist a myth. *le sigh*