Baby Evil Writers 101: Writing for a Living
I don’t think I’ve ever met a writer who doesn’t want to quit working, stay home and make their living from writing. Quitting the day job is the ultimate dream. The problem is making your dreams into reality. Those pesky children seem to want food every single day and then you need a roof, and electricity to run your laptop, and heat in the winter is a necessity and not a luxury. If this is a serious goal, you need to have a plan.
First of all, you have to sell some books. To live in a modicum of comfort, you need to have three books on the shelf for each and every member of your family. For most people this means that their career needs to be firmly established for ten years or more before they gain their freedom. During those ten years, you need to figure out some things.
1. Where will the health insurance come from? If you are the working person who provides this necessity, you need to plan on paying for it yourself. It isn’t cheap. Unless you have a few hundred thousand dollars tucked away, this isn’t optional.
2. Make a budget and learn to stick to it. An author gets paid twice yearly and that is a long time between paychecks. Ramen is good but it’s not that good. Also it will make you fat so there you go.
3. Will any of your children be going to college when you plan to work at home? If so, add another book on the shelf for each child in college. Even scholarship students have expenses not covered by grants and loans
4. Pay off anything you can before you quit working outside of the home. You get bonus points for no mortgage and a decent, paid-for car that won’t need immediate repairs.
5. Include in your budget traveling expenses for conferences and conventions. You’ll need the exposure and unless you’re a big time author, you won’t get your plane tickets paid for you
6. Don’t forget to set money aside for promotional items. Also don’t go nuts with these. It is kind of dumb to give away something that costs more than you make by selling a copy of your book.
Most of all you need to get into the habit of setting aside writing time each and every day and sticking to your schedule. Working from home is still working. No work, no food. Easy-peasy.