Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Considering Patreon

This is kind of an unusual position for me to be in.

For a while now, I've been seeing a substantial number of the people I follow online talk about how they use this service called Patreon. As I understand it, Patreon is a service that connects wanna-be artists and other such media producers like myself with would-be patrons of the arts, who get to make donations or payments or some such thing to content producers of their choice in amounts of their choice as a fixed payment each month.

It feels weird to think that I'm actually considering setting up an account of my own with Patreon. On the one hand, I've always said that if I had the time and could still pay for rent, food, and the like, I'd put a little more effort into my writing and art. I've certainly got the time now, since pretty much everybody at my day job has had their hours reduced. I've got the money, if only just barely. I can get by on maybe $900 a month, but if something goes wrong, like if I get seriously sick, I'm fairly well screwed.

From that perspective, this Patreon thing seems like something I should at least look into a little more than to just know a little bit about what it's about. After all, why would I not want to get paid for something I intend to keep doing anyway, right?

Well, that's where we get to the other hand in this thing. If I do sign up for this Patreon thing and manage to get some patrons, this little writing and art hobby of mine is going to become more of a job than anything, which means that I'm going to be obligated keep the content coming at a certain pace. That “certain pace” stands a very real chance of being a quicker one than I've been working at recently, at least in terms of what I've been posting online.

That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, of course. In a way, it's almost exactly what I've always wanted to do with my life, and now there seems to be a way to do it. At the same time, I know very well that there are some legitimate concerns here, too.

One of them is the pacing thing I mentioned before. As it is right now, the things I post to the various web sites I do are all things I do in my free time, for pleasure, and as such, there's no fixed schedule. I can work on things when I feel like it, take as long as I want to get them done, and post them whenever I want to. Doing Patreon could potentially, and may almost certainly, change that into something where I'm expected to have things published on a regular basis, be it daily, weekly or some other regular amount of time.

There's a part of me that thinks I can handle that aspect of it, in part because it's something I've wanted to do since high school, and because I've had self-imposed schedules for quite a lot of the time I've had my main blog.

Another thing that's going through my mind is the sort of question my parents, and my dad in particular, must have asked me on a fairly regular basis when I was a teenager. The big question going through my head right now, in my dad's voice, is that if somebody came and showed me work like mine and asked me to pay them for it, would I do it? I have trouble saying yes to that because I'm not entirely sure the quality is up to snuff.

Up until the end of last year, I would have definitely said no because I didn't think I was quite good enough to make it happen. Since then, though, a few things have changed, and I find it a little easier to at least consider the possibility.

The main thing that's helped in that regard is the business with the hackers who got into a server for one of those crypto-currency things and made off with something like $20,000. Before December of last year, I had always held myself back, thinking that I didn't have anything worth paying for. Since then, I've come to realize that if the Internet community at large has enough collective spare change floating around that thieves can make off with twenty grand worth of something like dogecoins, or whatever they were called, then maybe there's a market for what I do after all.

I'm not exactly what I'd call close to a decision yet. There's still some research I need to do before I go ahead with this, because I'd like to know what I'm getting into before I actually go ahead with it. That will take some time, but like I said before, I've got plenty of that, it would seem.

The one thing I do know for sure right now, though, is that something's gotta change, and this may be one of the ways it does.

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