To the Writer Who’s Worried About Money

Soo. The money question. You know the one: What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money? It’s cliche, one of those first date questions people might ask when they’re trying to impress one another or sound cultured and cool. I’d visit Machu Picchu, or I’d learn how to make crème fraîche. (I’d learn how to make crème fraîche in Machu Picchu because that would be extra impressive.)

My husband and I were talking about this the other day. What we’d do if we didn’t have to worry about making money and paying bills. Our list of activities included traveling, reading, cooking, making things (he designs really cool t-shirts), playing video games, and sleeping.

I would also drink ALL THE COFFEE, but I do that anyway.

But mostly, I would write. That’s one of the few things in life that can make me money, but I’d do it even if it never made me money. I think most writers feel that way, don’t we? We’d love to get paid for what we do, but we’ll do it even if we don’t.

The thing is, we do have to pay bills. We don’t have to go into debt for things we don’t need, but each of us is responsible for keeping ourselves afloat by using our skills and earning enough to live. Sometimes the thought of getting up at 6 a.m. and sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day until I’m 65 makes me want to swallow a flaming torch cry. As a writer, I swing back and forth between two extremes: feeling so desperate in my job and confident in my writing that I’m going to quit tomorrow!, and feeling like I’ll never make it as a writer, because how will I afford my Reese’s Puffs? (And a mortgage, I guess.)

Number one: It’s not about the money.

Number two: Okay…it’s a little bit about the money.

If you love your job and you also write for fun, then there’s nothing to solve here. Just keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy your life, and congratulations on finding a day job that fits — or at least supports — your creative spirit.

Ink Blots & Happy Thoughts: 20 Lessons Learned in My First Year of Freelance Writing e-book by Meg Bliss >>> download it here! | writing tips, writing books, writing quotes, freelance writing, work at home moms, make money online

If you don’t love your job and you want to write for a living, but you’re worried about making it work financially, then let’s look at a few options here.

First of all, if you’re going to enjoy your life, then money can’t be an idol to you, no matter what you do for a living. If more money is the ultimate goal, then you’ll never have enough. Recognize that no matter what you’re doing for a living right now — whether you’re writing or not — you have enough when your needs are met. It’s fine to want and pursue more, but the moment money becomes your only focus is the moment you lose track of your actual purpose.

Nextly, make some coffee, grab a notebook and pen, and take an hour or so to evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and the difference between the two.

  • Do you like your current job or are you desperate to get out?
  • How much money do you currently make? How much of it do you actually need?
  • What expenses could you easily cut from your current budget if you were to lose your job tomorrow?
  • Does your potential as a writer surpass your potential for growth in your current position?
  • Do you have a solid plan for making money as a writer? {If not, then I have something helpful for you in the works. Stay tuned! 😉 }

As you’re considering these things (and refilling your mug), check your mindset too. Do you believe you need more to be happy–more clothes, shoes, cars, homes? Or are you content to have only what you need as long as you can do what you love? When my mind is cluttered with materialistic thinking, then my life is cluttered too, regardless of what I actually own. That’s not ideal for any writer.

Finally, remember that everyone starts somewhere less than ideal. Emily Giffin hated her job as a lawyer before she quit to write novels. But because she was miserable, she made a plan to pay off her school loans and become a writer. Anne Rice was an insurance claims examiner while she was in college, Margaret Atwood worked in a coffee shop, and Harper Lee was an airline reservation clerk. (You can see more here.) If nothing else, your current job should inform your writing and allow you to save enough to support yourself for a season, if that’s your goal.

You might have to do what you don’t like for a season. You might have student loans, rent, little mouths to feed, or a down payment to meet. Take the part-time job. Cut out the cable, fancy date nights, and $5 coffee (I know, I’m gently cradling my last #VentiPSL right now, too *sob*). Be realistic, but be hopeful. Things might be financially tight for a season, but you are a writer whether you’re making money or not.

BE realistic, but be hopeful. You are a writer whether you're making money or not. // writing and money

Try this: Every time you have an anxious thought about money this week, kick it out. The longer those thoughts sit in your mind, and the more you feed them, the fatter they get. Then they’re really hard to get rid of. Instead, let those thoughts motivate you to take yourself and your writing more seriously.

Do you let financial fears hold you back from your writing? How do you handle them when they come? Leave a comment below or join the Ladies in Read on Pinterest to share your best writing tips and inspiration. 

To the Writer Who's Worried About Money (You're Not Alone) | | writing and money, personal finance, finance for writers, making money as a writer, encouragement for writers


About Meghan

Meghan is a novelist, blogger, and copyeditor fueled by coffee and red lipstick. When she's not typing away you can find her reading, organizing, or watching old sitcoms and superhero movies with her husband, cat, and baby-to-be.


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