Posts Tagged ‘artists’

I’ve been somewhat injured the last week or two, so I’ve had some extra time on my hands. So I decided to poke around Kickstarter and see some of the awesome projects artists have in the works.

In case anyone doesn’t know, Kickstarter is a funding platform in which artists put up projects and how much funding they wish to receive, and then their fans and the interested public can pledge money towards those projects, usually for nifty rewards like art, books, tickets to live performances and screenings, etc.

What’s exciting about Kickstarter is it gives artists a viable alternative to get their amazing work out into the world while getting paid for it. Many creative projects require money up front in order to become realities, and Kickstarter allows the artist to get paid directly from their fans instead of finding corporate backing. It definitely works best when an artist already has an established fan base who can both support them financially and spread the word. For writers, a successful Kickstarter mimics the advance system of traditional publishing while allowing the writer to retain complete creative control. Which is all-around awesome sauce.

Here are some of the Kickstarters I decided to back last week:

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, by Anita Sarkeesian

I’ve been watching all of Anita’s videos ever since she explained to me, complete with relevant examples, what the Bechdel test was. Now she’s taking on the portrayal of women in video games with a lengthy new series. I couldn’t resist backing this project, because this video series NEEDS to exist.

Fireside Magazine Issue Two, by Brian White

This looks like a promising new fiction magazine, with a lot of speculative heavy hitters in the line-up for the next couple of issues. But really I was sold by the opportunity to be drawn by my friend Galen Dara, who is an amazingly talented artist.

Amanda Palmer: the New Record, Art Book, and Tour, by Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is in the process of revolutionizing the way musicians can interact with their fanbase and make a living while doing awesome things. How could I not want to be a part of this? Also, art books are cool.

Crossed Genres Publications, by Bart Lieb

I have a special place in my heart for Crossed Genres. While they weren’t my first sale, they were the first publication who ran one of my stories. Their Kickstarter has been so successful, they are now going to bring the magazine back (it folded recently), and they also have a few very interesting anthologies scheduled for publication in 2013.

I’m Fine, Thanks, by Crank Tank Studios

To make this independent documentary, the filmmakers toured the country and conducted lots of interviews. Their topic? Complacency and the pull to follow a pre-approved script instead of creating your own unique and individual path through life. Can you think of any subject of a documentary that fits in more with the spirit of this blog? Because I can’t. I am so excited a movie like this exists, and I can’t wait to watch it.

I can’t cover all the worthy Kickstarter projects out there in one blog post, so please help me out. What projects have you supported recently? What other cool things are artists out there doing?

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A few days ago, I read the excellent article “Writing and Mortality” by Rachel Swirsky, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  I recommend reading it and coming back here, but since I don’t always do that myself, I’ll summarize. She talks about some advice she read about writing, how if the project you’re working on is not the project you’d be working on if you only had six weeks to live, then it’s the wrong project. Rachel calls foul on this advice, saying that if she had only six weeks, she’d be busy spending time with her loved ones. “Artists,” she says, “aren’t only real artists if they would spend their last few days creating art.” 

I agree with Rachel one hundred percent. Creating art is a high priority for me; in fact, I’ve structured my life around increasing my time to do so. But it’s not my highest priority, and that’s okay. This truth was brought home to me recently when I was suffering from root canal complications.  Mostly I was thinking, “My god, the pain, the pain, please make it stop, I’ll do whatever it takes to stop the pain.”  But when I could focus beyond the immediate suffering, what did I care about the most?  I wanted to spend time with my husband and my little dog, and I wanted to write long e-mails to my best friend.  I’m an ambitious person, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t thinking about my writing anymore.  What mattered to me was the people I love.

Taking a step back, this entire discussion was sparked from a piece of writing advice. I read a lot of writing advice every week.  I even occasionally write some writing advice.  It’s amazing how much helpful information about writing I can learn from the internet (although at this point, a lot of the advice I read is a reminder more than a revelation).

But this advice is not infallible, and it cannot be followed blindly.  Each piece of advice requires consideration, and if you find it doesn’t work well for you, that doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad writer or anything else.  It means that advice is not for you, full stop.

People try to give me advice all the time (and not just about writing, either).  Here are some examples of advice I do not take:

1. You should write every day. Yeah, I don’t write every day.  I usually take weekends off, and then I come back to the computer on Monday full of fresh ideas and vigor.  That’s what works for me, for now.
2. You should write what you know. Sorry, I don’t actually live in a world with working magic or a world set in the future, but I still write about them.  (Yes, this advice has deeper connotations that are more helpful, but its phrasing can be misleading.)
3. You should write x words every day. Unfortunately, only I know how many words I can write per day, and this number changes over time and depending on circumstances (like, for instance, a root canal or quitting the day job).
4. You should only submit to pro paying markets. I actually kind of follow this one, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s silly.  Really I should submit to any markets I feel like submitting to, right?  If I’d be happy seeing my work at a certain publication, then I’ll submit.  If I won’t feel happy or I think the publication is shady in some way, then I won’t submit.  So this advice isn’t for me.
5. You should/shouldn’t outline. Um, really good writers go both ways on this one.  So I’ll do whatever I like, and experiment with both.  (For those wondering, yes, I outline for novels.  For short stories, it really depends.)

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Advice is in the eye of the beholder.  People give advice about what works for them as individuals.  But we are not cookie cutter people, and therefore some of this advice will not work for you.  The trick is to learn what you can, and then adapt that learning to fit your own lifestyle, your own priorities, your own artistic strengths and weaknesses, and your own voice.

I would love it if you would comment with some advice you have read or received (writing advice or otherwise) that doesn’t work for you.  It can even be something that I have said here on the blog (gasp). I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

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