Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words May 27, 2008

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Dry Season

Tax season ended, recovery (mostly) completed. The feast of money and famine of time has ended; now I have time to edit and write, but no money. I have entered my dry season, financially. 

For the last four months I have been making mortgage, student loans, and all kinds of other payments, trying to get as far ahead on them as I can. Four months does not make a year’s worth of payments, even in the insanity of the tax industry. Hopefully editing will continue to grow and I can sell a couple things to anthologies. Even better would be finishing a book and getting a steady (if minor and only quarterly) income stream.

C.E. Murphy, an author who actually is making a living writing, gives a glimpse behind the curtain in the Magical Words post “Royalties“.

Biggest take away:

“By this time you’re thinking, “Yeah, but ALL THAT MONEY! ALL AT ONCE! I CAN GO NUTS!” and believe you me, that’s what a person starts to think when she gets a several-thousand-dollar-check deposited in the bank.

And then she thinks, “I have no freaking clue when I’m going to get paid again,” and all of a sudden that big lump of money doesn’t look tempting, it looks cruel.”

You can read the whole blog post here: http://www.magicalwords.net/really-i-mean-it/royalties/

THOUGHT EXERCISE: Imagine being a published writer and deciding to go full-time (quit the day job). What changes will you have to make in your budget? How would health insurance be covered? Mortgage, car, food. Travel required for writing like cons, plus family obligations like Christmas. Could you manage the windfall to be trickled out for six months of bills? What life changes would you need to make? How much do you love your day job? Comment below on what will be the hardest thing to adjust financial-spending-wise for you.


I am a very miserly person by nature. I buy used cars at the three-year mark when they have lost the big depreciation but have the most years left. I then keep them until around their tenth year, when the maintenance and reliability becomes an “expense”. Non-reliable means lost jobs, break-downs requiring towing, etc – huge expenses. My house is small – to save time cleaning, to save money heating and cooling, to have a mortgage less than renting. I know how to stretch funds over time and make advance payments. I keep an emergency fund.

Even with all these skills and life choices, the months outside of tax season always are stressful. When will the next editing check come in? Will the car inspection reveal a major expense? Will my health hold out until I am old enough to get medicare, since health insurance is not a viable financial option? Can I convince my sushi craving that ramen noodles count as Asian?

The hardest day-to-day is not being able to help friends as much as I want. The internal debates of the gas costs even for visiting cut deep. I’ve decided to walk this path, but I know the choice means I will never be “living large”. In the real-world at least, my head-space is nicely decorated.