Investing in Your Career

On the practical side of a writing career, one of the nice things about it is that it doesn’t require outrageously priced equipment, like an MRI machine or a penthouse office overlooking the city. That’s a good thing, since writers don’t make a ton of money, generally speaking.

Still, writing is a profession. A career. If you are writing as more than a hobby, you do have to invest in the tools of your trade. And you want to spend your money wisely on things that deliver the most bang for the buck.

For instance, I just got back home from 2 weeks in Paris and Iceland (will share photos soon!), and one of the first things I did when I got home yesterday was order a new portable keyboard (the one I talk a bit about in my free Write More! Write Now video course).

Mine was acting up, starting to jump around and insert letters in the wrong places. This little keyboard, which I use to write on my phone anywhere out in the world–like Paris and Iceland!–is indispensable for me. Will be happy to have my new one in place tomorrow, ready and waiting to help me write an urgent and complicated email or draft a new poem or take research notes, whether I’m on a boat tour on the Seine River or at the site of the geological rift in Iceland.

Not everyone needs to spend money on the same things, but you DO have to invest money in your career. Here are some of the kinds of financial investments I think every professional writer needs to be prepared to make. You won’t need all of these all at once! But if you’re really trying to build a career, these are the kinds of things you’re likely to need to purchase at some point.

Tools

  • Device to write on (laptop or tablet or computer)
  • Reliable Wi-fi
  • Smart phone
  • Microsoft Word
  • Keyboard
  • Mileage tracking app
  • Timesheet app
  • Website hosting fees
  • Online storage fees

Resources

  • Courses
  • Books
  • Travel for hands-on research

Education

  • Courses
  • Conferences
  • Review journals

Networking

  • Travel to conferences
  • Dues/Membership fees
  • Cost of events

Outside Help

  • Freelance editors
  • Graphic designers
  • Website designers
  • Consultants

Writing is still a career with a low entry cost. But don’t undersell yourself and your work. Don’t underestimate the importance of professionalism. To be a professional writer, you really will need to invest in yourself and your work.

Speaking of investing, my taxes are almost done (whee!), so I’ll have my yearly income report ready soon.

Cheers!

 

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About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
This entry was posted in Making a Living, Writer Resources and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Investing in Your Career

  1. Good reminder – and I can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  2. ldk says:

    This list is very helpful and a great resource for organizing expenses for tax time! Looking forward to seeing more pictures from your trip.

  3. ldk says:

    Laura, which portable keyboard do you use. I looked on Amazon, and there are so many to choose from. I don’t have an iPhone, so I’m not sure this would work for me. Thanks!

    • If you click on the pic, you’ll go right to it. Mine is for Android. They do sell different kinds, but this is the kind I use. And it’s on sale for $30 right now. (Used to be 50 or 60.)

  4. ldk says:

    Thanks, Laura, I’ll take a look.

  5. Angie says:

    I love your list! I always feel guilty if I need to go to a writing conference or purchase a book. But looking at it from a different direction as you suggest, yes, it is my career and I need to support that career in a professional manner. Thanks, Laura.

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