Don't Forget The Writing Budget!

Sunday, January 20, 2013
So you've had a couple weeks to firm up your 2013 writing goals. You have a handle on what you hope to accomplish, and if you’re the really industrious type, you've hit the page running. It’s all good, as my kids are fond of saying.

But I've noticed that whenever my kids say, “Calm down, Mom. It’s all good,” it’s invariably not all good. They've forgotten something (something that’s usually terribly important). And so I thought I’d ask: Have you remembered your writing budget?

Your writing budget is just as important as your writing goals, especially if your goals tend towards the general rather than the specific. For example, let’s say that your 2013 goal is to focus on children’s writing, and to that end, you've decided to write every day, and read more in the children’s genres you’re targeting. That’s terrific, and you will be a better writer by the end of the year.

But if you have a writing budget, you can rev up your goal. With less than a hundred dollars, you can join a professional organization like SCBWI and reap the benefits of membership. With less than two hundred dollars, you can take a class in the children’s writing field you enjoy. Or you can attend a conference, and connect with other writers in your area. You can skip the expensive coffee a couple times a month and use that money to enter a few children’s writing contests. Contests are wonderful motivators, particularly later in the year when your writing get-up-and-go is threatening to get up and leave.

So it doesn't take an accountant to see that a writing budget will pay dividends down the road in your writing career.

But maybe you’re not a fiction writer. Maybe you’re a freelancer, or a poet, or working on your memoir, and you can’t see any benefits in joining a professional organization or attending a conference. But you still want to take your writing to the next level. Yep, you’re going to need a budget.

For less than a hundred dollars, you can set up your own website and jumpstart your online presence. If you can find two hundred dollars, you can take classes on freelance writing, memoir writing, even poetry writing. You might want to join a freelance job opportunities site; these sites can range from free to forty dollars a month. You could research mentorship, wherein writers set their own fees for what will help you the most.

So before your 2013 resolve fades, get out the calculator and work those numbers. Figure out your writing budget and stick to it. Then you can tell me, “It’s all good, Cathy.” And I just might believe you.

~Cathy C. Hall


Kristi's Book Nook said...

I often forget about budgeting things for my writers life. This year, I have set some goals to include how I will fund a conference I want to attend this year. This is an excellent article and reminder. Thanks.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Kristi, thanks! And GOOD LUCK with your conference! I LOVE writer's conferences but I have a rule that I have to EARN my way there.

It's a big motivator. :-)

LuAnn Schindler said...

Funny, when I think of budget, I don't think about a trip to a writer's conference or taking a class. I'm thinking about how much I want to make each month. Guess my mind doesn't work the other way. :)

Good reminder about budgeting for life-long and career-long learning!

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