I had a very good month in August. It feels as if it has been a while since I started an Artists Make Art post—a series that I started when I first launched this central site to discuss my many years of experience (pre-dating this space) of multi-art multi-genre work—this way, but I really did have a good month. Other than using Twitter for some extremely specific work tasks (as Twitter does have its effective uses), I reduced my Twitter use in August by over 90%. Just the reduction of cacophony and dealing with hourly nonsense and abuse meant that my mind was clearer to focus on my work. Additionally, I had a lot more rest time.
Sometimes it is hard to rest because as an independent creator, I have to think about income in ways much different from someone who gets a paycheck every two weeks no matter what. August was financially weaker than some other months in the year (and similar to other months as well), though I look at my income over a longer period of time; quarters and years. Thus, while August was weaker with new and abrupt social media changes and less working hours, the long term still looks better health-wise and sometimes the latter matters a little more than the former. Besides, marketing and using Twitter for relationships that convert (into readers, customers, clients etc) is exhausting to do while navigating online abuse, plagiarism etc. That impacts my health. Thus, I rather be temporarily more broke if it means a lot healthier and more well-rested in the long term as I make other work changes.
I worked on some existing long-term projects and paused on others during August. As I mentioned last month, I launched Patreon, and in August, I really started to publish there. I grew the space from no patrons at all to 269 at month close. While this seems tiny compared to my overall social media footprint, from my observation, most creators of colour rarely surpass even 100 patrons. Thus far, I have only come across 5 Patreon accounts by creators of colour with more than 100 patrons and only 1 with more than 500 patrons. I guess this is about "normal" in terms of this platform. Below, I mention what I did with Patreon in my first month as well as some of my other work in my other creative fields/spaces.
I created a new Patreon profile at the end of July (the URL is patreon.com/thetrudz) to publish unique content for long time readers/supporters as well as for newly interested people.
I publish 1 new long piece per month on womanism, Black feminism, art, film, television or music etc. on Patreon; this is for Blackberry ($10.00), Wine ($20.00) and Bourbon ($50.00) reward levels: The Social Burden For Politically Aware Artists. I publish 1-4 short pieces per month on lifestyle content or popular culture; this is for Blueberry ($5.00), Blackberry ($10.00), Wine ($20.00) and Bourbon ($50.00) reward levels: Loneliness Is Not The Same As Introversion, But Introverts Can Experience Loneliness.
I publish sporadic surprise new content (i.e. iPhone wallpapers, art-related tutorials, study tips, recipes) along the way and this is for Strawberry ($3.00), Blueberry ($5.00), Blackberry ($10.00), Wine ($20.00) and Bourbon ($50.00) reward levels: Bonus Post #01 - 3 Tips For Improving Your Photographs In Instagram Stories.
I publish a "weekly five" list with tips and/or advice on art as inspiration, creativity, business, labor and self-care, beginner photography education, or life/leisure tips; this is for all patrons, including the entry reward level, Leaf ($1.00): The Weekly Five #01 - 5 Tips For All Artists, The Weekly Five #02 - 5 Tips For Beginner Cooks From A Beginner Cook and The Weekly Five #03 - 5 Tips For Starting A Vinyl Collection. I also publish a weekly curated reading list that includes great writing from around the web on some of my interests, which include photography, food, writing (craft/inspiration), film/television, art, politics/sociopolitics, and life. Each week, this list includes some of my own writing as well. This is for all patrons, including the entry reward level, Leaf ($1.00): Read This Week #01, Read This Week #02 and Read This Week #03.
The public Patreon content that I publish includes/is based on my work that is already publicly accessible via my tweets, Gradient Lair, Drift Sojourn, Cinemacked etc. This is for all patrons as well as for the general public: Public Post #01 - 10 Study Tips For College Students.
I met one of my goals already, reaching 100 patrons, and with the second goal I am at 269/500 patrons. My end of the month review post goes into more detail: Review - August 2017.
Earlier this year, I decided to start using my @GradientLair Twitter account again (after I closed the blog in October 2015, after 3.5 years of publishing) to repost #classicGradientLair essays and posts. This is writing that may not be included in the future subject-specific anthologies, but writing that is still meaningful to me. I did not work on the anthologies in August though, since my focus was on building my Patreon.
In August I published a thread on the late James Baldwin (for his August 2nd birthday), which includes quotes I originally published on Gradient Lair when it was live. I re-posted a piece about the Black sci-fi/Afrofuturistic film Pumzi, which influenced how I designed Cinemacked. I also published a thread about some topics I discussed this year and put in Twitter Moments; it also mentions how what I publish on Patreon partially mirrors things on Gradient Lair in subject and/or structure, although the content itself is new.
I did not publish any new posts to Drift Sojourn blog in August since I mention photography quite a bit on Patreon. I did publish new photographs on my Instagram profile, however. I used my Snapchat much less in August (other than to make cookies and for birthday selfies) and mainly used Instagram Stories instead, usually to post my cooking and baking experiments, recipes, and what I am eating/photographing throughout the month.
blueberries were on sale at publix. jeah! so i have made blueberry muffins and blueberry ice cream (with the nutri ninja) from scratch before; next up might be blueberry pecan ice cream (with the kitchenaid attachment; works much better). i must have made like 20 or so macro blueberry photographs by now in my lifetime. can't stop won't stop lol. "blueberry" is also a reward level name on my patreon; visit patreon.com/thetrudz for more info. ••• #macro #blueberries #fruit #dessert #foodphotographer #canon
On @driftsojourn (including from Instagram Stories) I published photographs for #NationalChocolateChipCookieDay and #NationalWaffleDay. I also published photographs of food photography dinnerware, bourbon watermelon balls, a bourbon on ice macro photograph, current ideas for future iPad wallpapers and a macro photograph of sesame wings with scallion, as seen below.
Two of my previous three photography eBooks—Photography Projects For Practice and Portfolios and Free or Frugal: Learning and Creating Photography On A Budget—are available for purchase in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. Additionally, an educational publication, 300 Photography Resources, and my 2 sets of iPhone wallpapers "Healthy Eats" and "Sweet Eats" are available in Publications as free downloads, but tips are appreciated. Although June is Pride Month, my free Pride Month iPhone wallpaper is available in Publications year round.
My upcoming fourth photography eBook is still in progress, but I am on a break from working on it. I completed all of my 2017 design updates for Drift Sojourn earlier in the year with the exception of the portfolio update.
I published the following on Cinemacked blog in August: 3 New To Netflix Selections - August 2017 and Film Review - The Incredible Jessica James. On @Cinemacked, in addition to the general media news retweets and original opinions/critiques that I post (i.e. on race and craft and on representation), I did a tweeted review of the television show A Gifted Man and a live tweet of the film Collateral Beauty. I also tweeted an extended thread of my writing on Ava DuVernay's amazing work; I tweeted it on August 24th, which is her birthday. This is writing over the course of years, as I have been a fan of hers for almost five years. I also live tweeted Black Girls Rock, the BET Award show that honors creative, smart and talented Black women every year.
I keep an updated TweetDeck collection of all of my essays and other posts from Cinemacked blog once I tweet them, for easy access from Twitter. My TV Roster is updated with the shows that I currently discuss on Cinemacked. I live tweeted Shooter and Suits in August. As of August, Cinemacked is two years old! I am pleased with my work with this.
Earlier in 2017, I created a new personal Instagram profile; the new personal one is instagram.com/thetrudz. (For my primary photographic work it is instagram.com/driftsojourn.) Earlier this year I mentioned that I am more interested in using Instagram in combination with Patreon and moving away from Twitter unless for professional use. I heavily reduced my Twitter use in August, as I mentioned above, but I did publish several Twitter Moments that cover topics I discussed in detailed threads in 2017. They include: Social Media and The Dishonest Demands To "Learn", When "Lack Of Black Unity" Is Used To Victim Blame Black People, Colourism 101, "Positive" Stereotypes Are Still Objectification and Mainstream Media's Misogynoir Against Beyonce's Pregnancy/Motherhood. I shared a self-portrait on my birthday, as well, as seen below.
I am still working on 2 short publications (projects outside of the Gradient Lair anthology work and my photography eBooks), which I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts. One of them is now tied to a Patreon goal, or something to publish once I reach 100 patrons. As I mentioned above, I crossed the 100 patron goal in August (actually within the first 24 hours of my Patreon launch), so I am working on the corresponding goal project.
I did not publish anything new here in August because I focused on starting my publishing on Patreon. However, my writing on art as inspiration, creativity, business, labor and self-care will continue here and I do have a few pieces in mind that I may publish before 2017 ends.
My birthday was really great. I received a few nice gifts and tons of birthday wishes. Overall, other than January (when I had a lovely sleepcation and disconnected from social media and the world itself), August was my best month in 2017, in every way. I hope that the rest of the year can follow suit and somewhat make up for a difficult late spring and early summer.