85,000 words, 26 paid posts, 1 Patron. A year in the life of this modern writer.

          I acted on a whim last year. In an attempt to whet my writing appetite, I made a Patreon profile for myself. This crowdfunding service allows people to directly support artists and other creators, helping them to create works as they wish. While it did not pay off as I had wished, it spurned me on enough to write constantly. With that time behind me, I am ready to press ahead and continue to improve in my craft.

          It is hard for people outside of myself to see what I gain from a single Patrons’ backing a month. Most times it has been enough for a bit of car fuel and cheap entertainment, usually in the form of an MMO subscription. It may seem somewhat frivolous, but it has given me a bit of independence to manage my sanity.

          As I said above, it incentivized my writing. Knowing there was a treat at the end of my efforts kept me to my deadlines. Knowing that there were eyes on my work made me a more diligent editor. I have long been told that my writing was good. But seeing even one person willing to put money down on my skill, even though I feel it is unpolished, truly touched my heart and gave me a newfound confidence.

          It also allowed me to begin fulfilling one dream of many that I have and that is supporting other artists. These are small amounts though they represent a noticeable chunk of money that I have coming in. Aside from other creative friends, there are knowledge bases I wish to support. As much as I want to make this a first priority I do need to deepen my well quite a bit. It’s not all about money. If you have more people in your life like me, trying to build a career, help them however you can. Offering encouragement is better than nothing. Driving oneself creatively is full of uncertainty. Often times such roads seem to be going nowhere. But as their craft finds root they will have fruit to share with you. On that note, thanks to everyone who has helped me this past year. I try to say it often, but it begins to sound disingenuous to my ears. I need to do better supporting my friends. It is a goal I have for the coming year.

          This past year gave me the opportunity to dig into my writing style. In researching different topics I’ve identified my own biases, challenged my ideas, and learned alternate viewpoints. It has opened me up to discussions I would have earlier shied away from. It has kept me mindful of my own opinions and constantly testing them against new or contradictory ideas. Through my writing I have grown more as an intellectual person which is development that I value.

          A year ago I was a guy who dreamed of my writing earning me my daily bread. At that point I felt I had little to validate myself. I still feel that way, but I do so with a laugh. I have written every month for the past year. In a solid, unbroken chain, I have set a goal and have met it. In honesty, I have likely exceeded it as there are articles that have not seen the light of even my Patrons’ Parlor. I did not know what the future would bring. I did not know if I would make it to where I am now. In fact, I did not know if I would feel like keeping to writing just for myself.

          But just one person was enough to get me going. Or, more to the point, keep me going.

          Here are some of the entries that I’ve posted over the past year that I am proud of:

Dakota Access Pipeline: This was an odd entry. It began as a simple rant or reaction. I referenced one of my friends who had gone to the Oceti Sakowin camp and she gave it her stamp of approval. My Patron, however, challenged me to take a harder look at the article. So I did. The end result was an article I was confident enough in to put forth when I made professional writing entreaties.

Magical Industry: An observation on one element of world building I enjoyed, I created a write up for a term I coined. It was a work that was in the pipeline for awhile.

          Additionally, I set up an portion of my website that is reserved for my Patron’s to view at their leisure. You’ll have to be a patron to have access to the passwords. Those that contribute will have my thanks in being able to read in full about the following:

Superman game skeleton: I watched a video regarding Superman 64, which is commonly panned as one of the worse games ever made. Taking what I had taken in regarding game mechanics as well as my knowledge of DC and Superman lore, I posited a framework for what the ideal Superman experience should be.

Of Creations’ Swell: While not a part of the Patrons’ Parlor, this was my own original work from years ago. It was very hard to read. I had learned a little from writing and posting regularly, and was able to go back and make this entry easier to read. It is likely I would not have had the drive to sit down to this work again without my Patron and my friends. This month, and with greater fervor in the coming year, I aim to make my “passion project” a completed work.

          I look ahead with a similar sense of the Unknown as I did last year. A change is that I can look back and point to what I’ve done. More Patrons will be wonderful and I will do all I can to earn and keep them. But for all the people who have supported me in any capacity, thank you for enriching my path.

May your reading continue to be pleasurable.

Jasper H.B.

Chrono Cross book