Two recent Twitter threads, worth sharing on the blog for wider reach:
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done anything like this, having steadily pulled myself out of precarity in recent years, but unfortunately life can come at you fast, and so I wanted to throw my Ko-Fi profile back out there: https://ko-fi.com/mattcolquhoun
🧵 below for context.
If you’ve been keeping up with the blog at all of late, you’ll know I’ve been quite unwell recently. In fact, maybe the most unwell I’ve been in my life. I’m on the road to recovery, but I’ve been off work for 3 months and am not sure when I’ll be going back.
That’s the reason I’ve had so much time to write recently. It is all I’ve been doing to distract myself from the full-time job of getting well. However, after having a few meetings related to that today, I’ve now discovered I’ve fucked my finances and gone through all my savings.
It turns out that, even under socialised medicine, being sick is expensive. Thankfully, I do have support from people around me, and government / disability benefits may soon help boost what passes for “statutory sick pay” in this country.
But right now, I’m looking for any help I can get, and the sad reality is writing really doesn’t pay. I also have no capacity to take on any commissions. In fact, I’m having to turn down work that has been offered because I’m still taking each day as it comes.
But all the more reason to ask, as embarrassing as it is to do so, that if you’ve ever enjoyed what I’ve put out over the years & want to keep me in coffee as I work on my recovery, it would mean the world and probably go a lot further than you think if you click the link above.
The response from Twitter has already been deeply humbling. What has already been donated will genuinely help get me through this very rough patch in my life. I am eternally grateful to those who have offered support in a time of need, and even those who have supported me in small ways over the years. In fact, there was a time when things like Ko-Fi or Patreon were essential to keeping me afloat, but after finding stable work for the first time in my life during the pandemic — fuck working for arts organisations, honestly — these have become secondary and part of a general attempt to curate an online community.
Life has changed a lot for me recently, however, and having suffered perhaps the most significant mental health breakdown of my life, even my Patreon and Discord have become things I have not felt I have the capacity for. (To anyone who is still a Patreon of mine: thank you, and do not feel obliged to keep up your patronage if you desired more than simply supporting the blog.)
I am now in a position where I have very little to fall back on outside the generosity of my friends and government hand-outs. Of course, after the initial sharing of this link to my Ko-Fi profile, someone did mention the potential for book royalties from the forthcoming translations of Mark Fisher’s Postcapitalist Desire. But as was Darren Ambrose’s role in editing the collected K-Punk volume, this was in fact remunerated by a one-off editorial fee — I was in fact reluctant to take even that, but Repeater were insistent that the work be acknowledged — and all royalties from those posthumous books go directly to Mark Fisher’s estate, which is how it should be.
For what it’s worth, below I have included a further thread clarifying how little writing actually contributes to my income in this regard (expanded a little in places, since I am not curtailed by a character limit here), not so much to pity myself, but rather affirm how important it is, if you are a fan of this little community of online thinkers and writers, to support people who often work precariously and for very little:
Thank you to all of those who have supported so far. Especially those who have been particularly generous. I’m very humbled by it and it will all go towards getting myself back on my feet. Thank you, truly.
A side note, since someone mentioned book royalties: to be clear, I only receive royalties on my book Egress. For Postcapitalist Desire, I received an editorial fee when it was first published.
But I could not live on any of those payments alone. The royalties I have received from Egress so far, for instance, are the equivalent to a few months of my day-job wage — a strange reality for something worked on for 3 years.
But I have no qualms about this. I did not write / edit either book for the money. I seldom talk about my work publicly at events for a fee. I even turned down the editorial fee for Postcapitalist Desire at first. Writing has always been an extreme hobby for me, supported by work in other fields.
Having been officially signed off as “unfit for work”, this makes my situation difficult, but it is probably worthwhile for our whole community to let others know that clout and being known do not come with an income.
I am deeply grateful to anyone who has supported me so far, and particularly at this point of crisis, but I’m not alone. Support the writers you read however you can. It’s no way to make a living.