Raw Literature: A Writer’s Journey

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

February 6, 2018

By Rachel Hanson

I’ve had the pleasure of writing a few 99-word flash-fiction pieces for The Ranch over the last year or so and I was SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED when Charli asked if I would consider writing something just a little longer about my journey to start a page on Patreon.

Those of us who are creators know that writing something amazing that is helpful, moving, and engaging takes a lot of time and energy. Even something that we might finish in a few minutes (lookin’ at you, 99-word flash-fiction) can take a pretty big emotional toll. In the years I’ve been writing I’ve had the opportunity to come to this realization on my own. As a teenager writing on Open Diary, engaging on MySpace, starting a WordPress blog, writing and publishing a short story, being called a monster on Facebook, and sharing my words in far reaches of the internet I’ve learned the importance of self-care. Giving myself distance, actively not engaging because I can’t take the toll, things we all do to ultimately be the best creators we can be.

After years of baring my soul and working to minimize the consequences, I decided to start writing on SteemIt. SteemIt rewards quality content creation and community building through cryptocurrency (Steem Dollars, similar to Bitcoin). I thought this could be a way to recognize that there is an economic benefit to creating quality content and helping to create a more compassionate world. Although I am still on SteemIt, I continue to run into the problem of engaging. I am delighted to do it, but with limited time it can be a legitimate struggle. I don’t do as well as I would like.

Shortly after joining SteemIt and writing there, I had the opportunity to attend a BossedUp Bootcamp (BUBC), where one of the seminars was about negotiating your salary. The incomparable Kathlyn Hart talked about how scary it can be to negotiate your salary but that women, who are socialized to not be too pushy, actually end up missing out on over 1 million dollars throughout their life. Not asking for what we deserve is really hurting us! I came back from BUBC with a renewed desire to negotiate for myself, not just money but also for more control over my time.  I knew I could do it. What’s more, I knew I had to do it. For myself, for my daughters, and for my husband.

I have to admit that at first all my firepower was geared toward my 9-5 day job as a higher education professional. I have the experience and was confident I could land a better paying job. After a few didn’t pan out (although one is about to pan out – visit me at rachelahanson.blog for details soon!) I realized that other people make real money writing. I love to write, I love connecting on the page, and I was already busting my butt to create amazing content. After a lot of thought, talking to friends who use Patreon (Justin Grays was a big influencer) and doing a super-scientific Twitter poll that seven people participated in I decided that Patreon was the way to go. I’ve only been at it for a few weeks (a natural born marketer, I am not) but I’ve found the experience to be truly delightful and it gives me hope that as my message grows, so will my patrons.

*Full disclosure: Charli is one of my patrons, as are my parents, and my best friend Cheyenne.

Rachel Hanson’s work has appeared on LevoOpen Thought Vortex, and The Relationship Blogger where she talks about the challenges of being a working professional and a parent, family traditions, and developing a strong marriage when through the very real struggle of having young children. You can also learn more about Rachel’s professional experience by visiting her LinkedIn profile.

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Raw Literature posts as an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, its process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it. Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community that creates raw literature weekly in the form of flash fiction (99-word stories). If you have an essay idea, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

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16 Comments

  1. Charli Mills

    Rachel, it’s so interesting that you got t experience the earliest online writing through Open Diary and MySpace. Those early platforms were instrumental in leading to blogs and social media. It doesn’t surprise me that you are an early adopter of pioneering platforms like Steemit and Patreon. Full disclosure: I’m delighted to be one of your Patrons! Cheers to more of your journey!

    • Rachel A. Hanson

      Thanks Charli!! The case back then, as now, is that friends I trusted started using these platforms before I dove in. Newness makes me just a little nervous, haha.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m a watch-and-see person, too!

  2. Norah Colvin

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Rachel. I wish you success on your future path and with Patreon. See you around the campfire!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for coming to the campfire, Norah!

  3. Rachel A. Hanson

    Thanks Norah! I’m glad to be in such delightful company ????.

  4. Jules

    Rachel,

    WOW! Thanks for being part of the Buckaroo Nation 🙂
    The only way I ever really marketed myself was to put some of my poems in a booklet.. and give them away. I’m excited though to have been introduced to flash fiction and the TUFF program that might help me take some of my serial stories into new and maybe completed directions.

    I can’t remember which platform I started blogging on (really they need to come up with a better name…) but some of those early places or hosting sites that I was on – aren’t there anymore. And with Charli leading the way I’m slowly coming out of my shell… OK I still use a nom-de-plume but you know that’s my comfort zone. and writers tend to stick with comforts.

    I do know another friend on Patreon – A writer from the UK at least I thought she was there…

    Continued success, Jules

    • Rachel A. Hanson

      Jules, you are so right! I’ve never loved the term “blogging”. But honestly, the type of writing I do I struggle to put a label on it. I’m not a journalist or academic so I don’t think of what I’m writing as an “article”. But “blog” just sounds so icky. I have to believe our language will catch up eventually!

      Charli really is amazing! She does a fabulous job helping people come out of their shells just by being herself, and I appreciate that so much.

      • Jules

        We write about experiences. But to shorten that to ‘peering’ would be a tad creepy. How about “Emoting”… that is sharing information on emotions, even if there are some fact thrown in 😉

      • Rachel A. Hanson

        I’m down with that!

      • Jules

        Emoting @ …I think that works 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Aw, we are all learning to be brave. Writing publicly can take lots of courage! But our writing experiences can be so amazing and lead to ideas and stories we might not have caught. Thanks, both of you!

  5. Jennie

    This is fascinating, Rachel. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Rachel A. Hanson

      It was my pleasure, Jennie. Thank you for reading!!

      • Jennie

        You are welcome!

  6. Charli Mills

    Thank you for sharing your journey thus far, Rachel. I’m excited to see where your path leads!

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