Kevin leaves today,…

Kevin leaves today, driving to Indiana to spend a week working with a colleague. He'll be back on Sunday. I've promised to try to keep the baby alive until he gets back. Anything beyond a living daughter is gravy. In other words, Kavi and I may not bathe until he gets back. And we'll probably be eating Cheerios off the floor for all our meals. Okay, not all our meals, because Michael is coming over tomorrow evening to tell me everything that's wrong with my nonfiction book, and I promised him Sri Lankan food as a reward. (Yes, writers are masochists.) But the rest of the meals, it's Cheerios all the way. Did you know there's about one calorie per cheerio?

I've been trying to think about ways to make money. Not because we're strapped or anything -- we're doing fine. But the budget is such that if we want three days a week of babysitting (which, god, we absolutely do), it cuts pretty seriously into our household money. Limiting, for example, how many pretty pretty roses I can buy for my garden, or whether we can get a pergola kit to replace the gazebo that blew over in a big winter storm. (Around $2000-$3000 for wood and installation, eep.)

I don't want to take on more teaching during the school year; I'm set up for two classes at a time right now, which I think is pretty much the perfect amount of teaching. Maybe one class would be better, ideally. It's hard to say, since this way I get to teach workshop all the time, which I love, but also do a bit of lit teaching, which I also love, in a different way. (Can you believe they actually pay me to sit around and talk about books? Don't they understand that I do this for free? All the time???)

Anyway. So far, the obvious options that have occurred to me are a) earn more money writing; b) earn more money teaching over the summer. I've vaguely thought about picking up a copy of Writer's Market and trying to pick up some freelance nonfiction writing. But when you're starting with that kind of thing, it requires a lot of time and self-direction and sending out queries, many of which will be rejected or ignored. I'm still interested in it, but I don't think I want to spend time researching it right now. Plus, I'm writing two books at the moment, which offer no immediate finanical return, but which do eat up a lot of my writing brain. Which leaves teaching.

So here's what I'm thinking -- offer an eight-week online writing class. I did a little research; this kind of thing usually runs about $250-$300/class. If I charged that rate, limited it to 10-12 students, I think it would be manageable. We'd set up a mailing list, maybe a chat area. People would submit 2 stories in that time, and I'd teach weekly craft exercises and aspects of the business in addition to leading the group critiques and discussions of outside stories. We'd start in late June, run through mid-August. We might break for a week in the middle, the week I'm teaching Clarion. And since it's online, I'd be able to keep teaching it even if we ended up visiting Kev's folks in California for a while (which may happen). I'm thinking I'd ideally like to aim this at intermediate writers; people who have been writing for a while, maybe published a few stories. So I'd need people to submit a writing sample to be considered for the class. The class would be a regular fiction class, but would be open to genre-based writing (erotica, sf/f, etc.)

What do you think? Is it a reasonable plan, or am I setting myself up for a stressful experience that will be too much work for the money? (Keep in mind that the craft/business/lit side of it I have a lot of experience teaching, and so won't need to work up a lot of new material.) It's a lot less than I usually get paid to teach a writing class, but from my side, I get the flexibility of being able to do it from anywhere. From the students' side, they don't get university or program credit. Also, it's online, which is both a plus and a minus. Given all that, is $300 a reasonable amount to charge?

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