|Posted by Miri on February 2, 2021 at 9:20 AM|
I just received this lovely message through my site:
Hi Miri AF
I have sent you a small donation as I have just used one of your letter templates to send to Marks & Spencers shop re my non mask wearing. Thank you so very much for all your work and being so generous to provide these templates to the general public to amend. It would be lovely to think that everyone who uses your work, will automatically donate! You are amazing, lots of love to you, Best wishes, [name]
It warmed the cockles of my cold Aquarian heart (which is especially chilly as we move into my birthday month. It is absolute proof that God - who is an Aquarian, by the way (it's true! The devil is a Capricorn...) - has a sense of humour that he placed Valentine's Day in Aquarius - and then delayed my predicted early-Feb birth for precisely that day...).
Of course, many people have submitted donations for my work, which I appreciate enormously (thanks again ). But a lot don't. Not just people who use my work free of charge (and it will always be free of charge, because the people who might need it the most may be the ones in no position to make a contribution for it), but people who actually commission me to do work for them. About 30% of them pay nothing. Sure, maybe some of them can't afford to, but I doubt that is the case for all, and as there's no set charge, most people can afford to contribute something.
These aren't bad, mercenary people. They're just not thinking properly about the other person - which we can all be guilty of at times. Most people who contact me to ask for help or who use my templates are not thinking about me and my financial situation, and often assume an expression of gratitude is a sufficient return. It's great to be thanked and told they appreciate my efforts - but at the end of the day, my bottom line is the same as everyone else's, and all the thank yous in the world don't pay the bills or put food on the table.
For my writing to be viable (it's not at the moment - quite a way off), I need to make enough to be able to comfortably meet all of life's essentials, and, of course, to have some set aside, too, in case - for instance - my laptop breaks, as happened last year, and I need to instantly replace it in order to keep working. When you're freelance and self-employed, all costs are down to you. There's no "work" or boss to bill for laptop repairs or phone bills or anything else you need to do your job. There's also no sick or holiday pay, so if - for instance, and as has also recently happened - I damage my back through overwork and need to take a break, I have to find the money to keep being able to pay my bills. I've had a cushion for a while through savings, but they are very nearly all gone.
I'm sure it goes without saying that I didn't set up my website (www.miriaf.webs.com
) or offer my writing services to become rich. If wealth was my goal, I would have stayed in the commercial world where, ten years ago, I was earning a princely sum as a PR manager. I walked away from it with no safety net because, to quote a well-known meme, something in my soul knew something wasn't right with this. I went back to college and studied Professional Writing. I was already a trained and experienced copywriter, but copywriting - writing to sell - can quickly become soulless, and that's not what I wanted my writing to be for: selling things, maximising profits for products of dubious value. I wanted to do something better.
I have tried since to only use my writing in ways that helps and serves others. I have had to take it on the chin that a lot of people are happy to be helped and served and give little or nothing in return.
What makes this possible to take and what galvanises me to keep going (I seriously felt like throwing in the towel last week) is messages like the above. As the message says, the donation given was not large. But the thought behind it was. If everyone who's benefitted from my work made a similar donation, I would be constantly suffused with a sublime warm glow of deep appreciation (almost thematic of that ridiculous day I was born on...) - AND be able to pay the rent and feed the cat (comparable costs if you have a Taurus cat... ).
So, an ebulliently effusive thank you both to the writer of that message and to every one of you who have expressed similar sentiments and supported my work. I quite literally could not do this without you