Friday, May 27, 2011

Money I : Preparation

We write a lot about "how" to write. But what about "why" we write?

Most of us would say we write because we have to. Because of this in-depth need to put the story in our head down on paper. Because of our love of putting words together to tell that story.

I don't think it is too far-fetched to say most, if not all, of us would LOVE to make a little money from our writing.

The wonderful dream of sitting in your big ol' house, with your nice, plush office, pounding out words, when your maid brings you a nice glass of Sprite as your agent calls and tells you about the next seven figure advance Random House has offered you and the two other houses that were prepared to offer even more...


I am a big believer in dreaming and having goals and not limiting yourself. But if this is your day-dream, you might want to get a bit of a reality check. That doesn't mean that you can't have a goal of making SOME money... and maybe even, if you are realistic about timing, making a living with your writing.

I think, I hope, we all realize by now that this writing thing is rarely a path to "fame and fortune."

By day, I worked with money. So the "money" side of writing is something I'm interested in too... not JUST because I want to make some (someday) but because I like to work with it too! I thought I'd use my next few posts to give some good tips on finances/money as it relates to our writing.

The Preparation

You've written a book. You're doing everything you're supposed to do, submitting to crit groups, learning craft, continuing to write more books. Someday, you'd love to quit that day job and write, or at least go to part time, or maybe fund a family vacation, or you're a stay-at-home Mom and you'd love to add a little to the family budget too.

You aren't making money quite yet... but what can you do now to prepare for your future money-making writing career?

Get a handle

Get a handle of your finances NOW. Don't view your writing as a way to "get you out of your no-money pit" because it will cause a lot of stress when you are writing, thus make you not write as well. Now is still the time to ENJOY your writing, not feel pressured into the whole money thing. Write for the HOPE of selling it later... not out of desperation.

I'm a BIG believer in the Total Money Makeover from Dave Ramsey. My husband and I went through it a few years ago, paid off ALL our credit cards and our cars, and built up our emergency fund. Then, well, then Annabelle was born. Let's just say, I'm very very thankful we worked hard THEN. I won't lie. Given job situations and obvious medical stuff, I'm SO SO SO thankful we are as prepared as we are. If we were still paying on credit cards and things... I don't know what we would do.

If you get your finances in order now, then you can guilt-free set aside funds for writer's conferences, books and other things that you'll need. You'll be able to enjoy that first sale MUCH better if you get to use a few dollars of it to splurge (and save the rest!) verses having to put it all to do something boring like make a car payment... And you'll have a little nest egg for the potential to maybe, possibly, someday, MANY published books down the line... make a living from your writing!

Discussion: What are your "money" goals regarding your writing? Do you want to say adios to the ol' 9 to 5, or would you settle just for a few bucks to splurge on? Or are you REALLY not it in at ALL for the money? And here is a fun one: If God told you that he never had plans for you to "sell" any of your writing... EVER... would you still be writing? And if so, would your writing habits change?