Money! Yuk! Do we need to talk about that? Unfortunately, yes.
For the aspiring writer, money expenditure can be the crucial make or break point. There are very few things in life that are truly free and of those, sometimes the cost is hidden. For a writer, in simple terms, all you need is a keyboard and computer with some kind of software that allows document formation. For those who are old enough to remember, it used to be a typewriter and paper. Those days are long gone. With our modern technology, we have the computer and its ability to generate written words on a screen to be printed out on paper. Yes, we still have the cost of paper just a different mechanism for putting the words on it. OK. Enough of the rambling, we will now get to the meat of the subject.
How do you budget for writing and what are some of the accepted costs involved. We shall assume here that a computer and printer are assets that we already have. Most do. We must look beyond the obvious and see what other cost items might be involved. Let’s assume that you already have a written piece or manuscript that you want to have published for the reading public. It is at this point things get sticky.
You have to make some choices and decisions. First, we will assume that you have serious intentions of making writing your profession of choice. Second, is your writing just a hobby or is it with the intent to earn money. If your answer to these first to questions is a. that you are serious about a writing profession, b. that your intent is to make money, then you can expect to make a financial investment.
Here is where things get sticky. How serious are you? How much can you invest financially and/or incur as debt to get where you want in this profession? If your intent is to spend the rest of your life in this profession, it will impact all of your decisions. You will spend money and incur debt to get into the position of being a professional writer. If your intent is just to write as a hobby, that is a horse of a different color.
For the professional writer, speaking of the book and author venue, you will need to consider several cost items. Writing courses to learn your particular genre, conferences to meet other authors, publishers and agents is a need as well as acquiring those who have professional skills as proofreaders and editors. The need for marketing and promotion is another cost but we handle it as a separate topic because of its many nuances. There are many areas of cost here. Some of these can be learned as acquired skills, or acquired with software like editing and proofing or intense study to learn how to do it. The point here is to assess what you want to incorporate into your writing profession. Once these decisions are made, you can begin the task of researching the different areas of tools that will be needed. Once done, you will have an idea of what the different cost ranges are for each area. With this basic information, you can begin to build your actual budget.
A good suggestion at this point is to begin with a line item budget outline and then fill in the blanks. The following might be a place to start.
|Item||Est. Cost||Date needed||Priority||Ongoing/1time expense||Notes|
The foregoing table is just a suggested starting point. There are many items that could be included in the table, but the specifics will be determined by the individual writer and what goals that person has for the writing arena in which they enter. Basically, one may start with a small initial investment and as progress and growth in the writer’s abilities accumulate, the amount and quantity of tools will grow as needed.
Doing a budget of some kind is necessary. A good craftsman will not begin blindly without knowing or acquiring some sense of the financial investment required. A budget does not have to be complicated, just some way to track expenses. For the professional writer that earns income, there is always the aspect of tax filing and its related requirements. Bottom line: do a budget of some kind.