Granting my salary

I’ve had an unstable salary for the last few years, ever since deciding to become a high school teacher. In 2013 I left my full-time job to become a student ineligible for government support. Then, in 2014, I was a graduate teacher in a full-time but temporary teaching role. This year I will be a full-time teacher and year level coordinator in an ongoing position with my highest salary ever.

This is a significant financial change, and should have an impact. Yet several people have told a different story, describing how even a big pay increase can be hard to register, serving only to shift buying preferences to the supermarket’s middle shelves. Spending can expand to fill available spending, making a hard-earned pay rise go unnoticed.

So I’ve been asking people what I should do with my money. Travel, entertainment, dry cleaning, good food? “You should commission art,” said one person, forgetting the size of my walls. “Or writing,” I replied, liking it.

I’ve blogged about my own writing projects, and how studying teaching made them disappear. For seven years I wrote a daily post about year-long artistic projects in which the same action was repeated every day. The personal impact of these projects has been immeasurable (including professionally) but like most online writing I did them for free. Their form was shaped by the blogosphere; were I writing for money I would have written differently.

That’s why the Thiel Grant for Online Writing doesn’t specify word length, genre or approach; only that fifty posts be written in a year, and that I be the virtual equivalent of a kneeling donor in a Renaissance painting.

Piero della Francesca, St. Jerome and a Donor, 1451

Piero della Francesca, St. Jerome and a Donor, 1451

If you’re an Australian writer who’d like $5000 of my salary to support your own project, please consider pitching your idea.


4 thoughts on “Granting my salary

  1. Robert Smith

    I think its a very generous way to use your money! I look forward to seeing what it goes towards.

    I honestly feel ashamed about the attacks levelled against your grant. Some people really need to get a grip, look at issues from more than one preconceived viewpoint, and accept that perhaps they don’t really understand what it is that they’re attacking.

    All the best 🙂


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