So here’s the thing.

In the last year, I’ve spent WAY less time on Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter, and WAY more time on Patreon. My subscribers get all of the stuff I used to post: essays, ruminations, process diaries, stories, news, photos. This is the exact purpose of Patreon: to monetize artists’ work, without whom the Internet would not exist. WordPress doesn’t pay creators or have any mechanism for us to be paid. In fact, they require US to pay THEM to advertise. Whereas on Patreon, subscribers give money directly to me, which I use to make art to give directly back to them.

My job is to write about the future. Honestly, I don’t think blogs or social media in their current forms are the future. They can’t be. We can’t keep working for free.

So on this Small Business Saturday, consider subscribing to my Patreon for $1 a month. Upon subscribing, you immediately get links and passwords for MOST of my art. Why is it still password-protected? Because I don’t make a living wage, so I can’t afford to give it away. (If I DO get to a living wage—$3500 a month—I’m going to make all of my major works free to the public, so that anyone can access them regardless of age, finances, or geography. If you have a lot of $$$ and you’d like to make this possible, for a limited time or in perpetuity, please get in touch at monica@monicabyrne.org, and thank you.)

I’m about to go nose-to-grindstone to finish The Actual Star. The novel spans two thousand years, from the collapse of ancient Maya civilization to the birth of a global utopian religion. It is really, really good. I know my own work, I know it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and I want to finish it so I can give it to my agent on Christmas. I’m asking for your help. If you’ve always seen me post about Patreon, but never got around to signing up, now would be the very best time.

Thanks so much for reading. 

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Please do not ask me to work for free.

“Can you give me feedback on…”
“Can you give me an overview of…”
“Can you take a look at…”
“Can I pick your brain about…”
“Can you give me tips on how to…”
“Can you just write a quick…”

Please be clear: if you’re starting a message to me like this, chances are, you’re asking me for professional work. In the last week, I’ve gotten seven such messages. That’s typical.

I would love to be in a financial position to do some work pro bono. I am not, and so cannot.

My consulting rate is a sliding scale of $60-120 per hour. My writing rate is $2/word. If you want to hire me, you send an email to monica@monicabyrne.org, with the kind of consultation or writing you’re looking for; I’ll get back to you as soon as I can on whether and when I can take the job, and then work together with you on a contract specifying scope of work and payment. I require 50% of the full payment up front.

A cheaper option: I specifically designed the $3/month tier on my Patreon for working artists who can’t pay a one-on-one consultation rate. Patrons can ask me anything they like during monthly live video chats. They also get Process Diaries, or essays about creative work, that I don’t publish anywhere else.

A free option: over the last six years, I’ve written extensively about the creative and business aspects of writing all over the Internet, mostly on my blog. It takes a quick Google search to find them.

The exceptions are: if I’ve offered to help of my own accord; if we’ve arranged a barter or work exchange; or if you’re asking for a blurb, testimonial, or letter of recommendation.

Thank you.

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TOMORROW: June live video chat!

Greetings, all! My next video chat with patrons is happening TOMORROW, Wednesday, June 7th, at 3:00pm EST! If you’re not familiar with how it goes: I send all $3+ patrons a link that they click on, and then WALLAH YOU CAN SEE MY FACE and ask me live questions (any questions you like! well—almost any) about writing, art, science fiction, the Vice shoot, travel, inspiration, activism, my new magnet implant, immortality, anything! If you’re not a patron yet, just go here and pledge at the $3 level or up. You get ALL kinds of goodies from me, too, not just the video chat. See you soon!

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I am now a cyborg. Allow me to explain.

A couple of months ago, because of my TED Talk, I was asked to host a documentary series for VICE UK about the future. I said yes. (In fact I might have said “hell to the fucking yes.”) My patrons have known about this since it happened, and have been getting behind-the-scenes updates and photos all the while—if you want to get these updates in the future, sign up here!—but I’m writing about it publicly on the blog now because the first installment in the series just came out today and it is SO. FUCKING. GOOD.

Seriously. Can I gush a second? The director Sam Goldwater and producer Louis Bamber and cameraman Edward Vijayavargya were such a dream team. They produced such a beautiful film. And they were such a delight to work with, from dawn to midnight. I couldn’t have been more lucky to land with them. A second installment, set in Skye and Cambridge, is coming out next; we head to Japan to film the third segment next month.

“Wait,” you say, “what about the cyborg thing?” YES, thank you for reminding me. I am INDEED a cyborg. If you watch the whole segment (about ten minutes long), you come upon the part where I get a tiny magnet implanted into my finger. For the record, Vice didn’t pressure me to do this—they just asked if I’d be interested, and after thinking about it, and considering the fact that my next novel deals with the practice of bloodletting and I am nothing if not a Method Writer™, I said yes.

I got it without anesthesia, which biohackers call “going raw.” It did hurt. Exquisitely so.

But now I can sense electromagnetic fields. 😉

 

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A home without a name.

Last night, I dreamt I couldn’t remember the name of the city where I lived. I felt crazy. How could I have forgotten the place I’ve called home for twelve years? But all I could remember was that it was in the south; and warm, and bright.

I’ve been on the road for two months: Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Baltimore, D.C., Bath, Skye, Cambridge, Rye, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Annville, and D.C. again. (This picture is of me yesterday, taking shelter from the rain on the porch of the Supreme Court.) Right now I’m waiting for the metro that’ll take me to my car so I can drive home. Durham, of course: that’s the city I live in. I wonder how it’ll feel. I worry that this time I’ve gone and done it, I’ve changed too much.

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My work is entirely funded by patrons like you. If you liked this post, please consider supporting my work on Patreon for $1+/month. Thank you.

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Dear Microsoft: absolutely not.

And it has nothing to do with your software. It has to do with your new ad campaign, which I happened to see while I was at the gym last week. Here’s the gist: brilliant young girls express their ambitions to cure cancer and explore outer space and play with the latest in virtual reality tech. Then—gotcha!—they’re shown a statistic that only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees. They look crushed. The tagline? “Change the world. Stay in STEM.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

Microsoft, where’s your ad campaign telling adult male scientists not to rape their colleagues in the field? Where’s the campaign telling them not to steal or take credit for women’s work? Or not to serially sexually harass their students? Not to discriminate against them? Not to ignoredismiss, or fail to promote them at the same rate as men? Not to publish their work at a statistically significant lower rate? Not to refuse to take women on field expeditions, as did my graduate advisor, now tenured at University of Washington? Where’s your ad campaign telling institutions not to hire, shelter, or give tenure to serial harassers or known sexists, as UW and countless others have done? Where’s your ad campaign encouraging scientific journals to switch to blind submissions and blind peer reviewers? Or to pay women at the same rate as men? I could keep linking articles all day. But I’m tired. Everyones’ noses have been pushed in these same data for decades and nothing changes.

There’s a reason women and girls leave STEM. It is because STEM is so hostile to women that leaving the field is an act of survival. It was for me.

Microsoft, do not dump this shit on the shoulders of young girls. It’s not their responsibility; it’s the responsibility of those in power. That means you.

Get it right.

*EDIT 10pm April 6th: Mansplainers, gas-lighters, and other sundry contradictors: I’ll mark your comment as spam, which will not only delete your comment, but prevent you from commenting on my blog (and possibly other WordPress blogs) ever again. So don’t bother.

*EDIT 12pm April 7th: And if you bother anyway, there’s a solid chance I will make fun of you publicly on my Instagram.

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My work is entirely funded by patrons like you. If you liked this post, please consider supporting my work on Patreon for $1+/month. Thank you.

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Heads up: D.C., VIRGINIA, and MARYLAND folks!

Photo by DJ Corey Photography.

FRIENDS! Go see my play What Every Girl Should Know at Forum Theatre in D.C., playing through April 15th! Tickets are right here. It’s about four Catholic teenagers in 1914 who form a devotional cult of Margaret Sanger (aka, the founder of Planned Parenthood). I crawled out of my novel-writing hermitage to go see it TWICE last weekend and the production is just stellar. Incredible acting, direction, music, lighting, set design–-everything. It’s the kind of production playwrights dream about. And if you want to know even more about the play, read this review by a critic who liked it as much as I did.

Go see it and report back!

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