When I was eight, I wrote some words on an aging RM laptop using Word 97. They were terrible words and they ran together to form an even more terrible sentence. But it was the first ‘thing’ I had created with a plot, characters and a purpose and I have continued ever since; through terrible fanfics, introspective ramblings and enough robots and aliens to thoroughly exhaust the subject, I’m still putting words on digital paper. So far, five months into 2016 I’ve written a few sentences shy of 100,000 words.
And last week I received my first payment for it.
I’ve never done things for money. Even my day job at 383 I’ve always described as a happy coincidence that I get paid for doing what I love. Bulk Buffer, GPS Heatmaps, HL Twitter, Plex Export, innumerable libraries, tools and, of course, stories. All of them, given away for free. Shared with the world.
I’ve made money back from donations for my web apps, enough to keep servers on and domains renewing each year at least. Some of them even have the potential to be a business in their own right, but I’m happy exploring and the thought of sitting down and becoming a product person (this from someone in agency land) terrifies me.
But last week, on the back of a comment from a reader on reddit, I decided to set up a Patreon tip jar for my creative writing. Having worked on the web long enough I know all too well that the number of people who say they will pay for something and the number of people who do pay for something are like two circles gently intersecting as they go their separate ways.
And then I received a dollar.
100 American cents, maybe 70p after currencies and couriers have taken their cut. But it represents the first time anyone, anywhere, has paid for something I’ve written that wasn’t in code. Even if I never get another payment again it’ll be enough.
I plan to continue. Not only writing but hopefully collecting and editing some of my work together to form a book of short stories. In the meantime, most of what I write goes straight onto reddit. Anyway, I’ve linked to some of my recent stuff below.