Vision: A Resource for Writers
Robert A. Sloan
Robert A. Sloan
A. Sloan, Brokewriters Moderator, is 47, disabled, and living on welfare in
subsidized housing while pending SSI. From
1990 till 1998, Robert lived entirely on his earnings from crafts, tarot
reading, street sketching, fan art, and running roleplaying games. A move to New
York to take his writing career more seriously landed him in a homeless shelter
when he discovered that odd jobs would not support even a room in a residence
hotel. Standing in line to get any benefits was always beyond his physical
abilities, but in the homeless shelter, case managers brought the forms to him
and he started the long process of getting SSI. Rags to riches to fun things,
with rags to the next riches, is his lifestyle.
most of those years before the shelter, Robert didn't care that he was broke.
Active membership in the Society for Creative Anachronism gave him an outlet for
medieval crafts and barter that set him up in relative high style for living
comforts and pure physical luxury, with most of it portable. At one point down
in New Orleans, Robert ate reasonably well on $10 a week and preferred $5
shopping sprees in the French Market and fabric sprees at remnant tables. All of
the computers he's ever owned were gifts or Frankensteins put together by
numerous geek friends. Robert has always been rich in the good things that money
many devoted years of missionary effort by the Masters of Unix, Robert is slowly
converting to Linux. A slow learning curve for codes and abstract symbols slowed
his geekishness, but Robert is a dedicated futurist who trusts the principles of
Open Source philosophy and cooperative microcapitalism. He usually puts those
high concepts into simpler words, and makes a great Crash Test Dummy especially
for software intended to be user friendly.
and thick-shelled as a Galapagos tortoise, Robert is plodding his way steadily
into success on hard work and hefty word counts. During his shelter years he
wrote approximately thirty novels averaging 200,000 to 300,000 words each, most
of which need cutting or splitting into multiple volumes. Meanwhile, he waited
out a five-year contract with a bad agent that would have taken 50% of all
royalties on Raven Dance, his second novel and first serious SF work.
Spring 2001 brought him out of the shelter, then he published Raven
Dance through iUniverse.
its first year, despite little effective marketing, Raven Dance went into
the black and paid its own expenses. Constantly reworking his business
strategies, Robert now focuses his independent efforts on websites and paying
small press theme anthologies. Launchpad #1: Love and Death is his first
anthology project, soon to be complete. Robert also maintains two weblogs and
http://www.selfhelpforwriters.com, which often features his photogenic cat, Ari.
feel like getting into Forward Motion online was like making it to graduate
school in the School of Hard Knocks. My writing quality soared to the point that
all of my older material needs heavy rewriting to match my present level of
skill. My attitude changed so deeply that I literally laugh at rejection slips
and take pride in them. I couldn't even do short stories before I came to
Forward Motion. Now my short stories are approaching the quality of my novels.
I'm doing things I never thought I could do, and anything that's still
difficult, I now trust I'll just learn how."
peculiar, and optimistic, Robert can usually be found late at night in the
Forward Motion chat room, where he keeps company with others while he writes.
Disability became an annoying, but useful, step along the road to full-time
writing. Robert has taught several workshops at Forward Motion: Editing Small
Press Anthologies, Come as your Character Chat, and Boost Your Word Count.
Recently he made his first paid short story sale: "High Goth," sold to
editor Simon Owens at Pegasus Prose for the first issue of Sci-Fi Paradox.