Budgetting for Writers

Happy 2012! I hope your New Year’s celebrations were a blast and that 2012 has gotten off to a great start! To ring in 2012 I’m going to start with a post on something I’m not so great at… budgeting.

Being able to manage money is important for anyone, but it takes on particular importance when you take on responsibility for your own income, especially by having writing as your primary income.

A lot of writing income cannot be 100% planned on. This includes royalties from book sales, contracts falling through, etc. It’s not a job that includes a steady, always the same amount paycheck.

This is a job that requires you to maintain a reserve. In fact, I would not ever plan on jumping into writing as your primary income until you’ve got a reserve of money to survive off of for at least 6 months.

Maintain a list of what things are essential and what they cost each month: rent, water, electricity, food, health insurance (I know some would argue it’s not essential but accidents happen and I think it’s better to have that covered). Have a back up plan and have an idea of when you need help.

For example say you’ve decided that you need $800 a month to survive, and you usually get $1200 a month from your writing. If it looks like you’re only going to make $700 for that month then you need to start looking for ways to find money. Ask friends, family and loved ones if they know of any places hiring, need any work done, etc.

Make sure you set aside time and money to advertise your work because writing is no longer about simply creating a great story. Now it’s about creating, advertising and taking full responsible for creating sales for yourself.

Alright, well I’m diverting into other areas so I’m going to ask for your thoughts on things writers need to be aware of for budgeting. I would recommend Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Living on a Budget for a great step by step advice for creating and sticking to a budget.

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1 Comment »

  1. Laura W. Said:

    Thank you for this! Pocket Idiot’s Guide; I’ll have to remember that.

    Sigh. One must also consider paying off bills, etc. from college. Where you are in your life depends on what you have to worry about budget-wise: undergrad, graduate, post-college, married, before and after kids … etc. I’m assuming most of this post applies to the single writer living alone (or with a roommate?) in an apartment w/ monthly rent.


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