Everything a Writer Needs to Thrive: Craft, Business Skills, Personal Finance, & Joy

When I decided to start a blog as a follow-up to my book Welcome to the Writer’s Life, I knew I needed to focus. Who is this blog serving, and what are we going to talk about?

I want to help the people who want to make a life out of being a writer, and one of the things I’ve learned is that being a “good” writer alone will not help you. I want to help people thrive, artistically, financially, and personally, as I figure out how to do all that myself.

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The “successful” writer can also be the miserable writer. The writer who gets the huge advance could also go broke because she never learned to budget. The writer who writes stunning sentences after decades of study could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table because she has no idea other writers ask for more than what they’re offered and get it.

Let’s be thriving writers, balancing a dedication to our art with a responsibility for our careers and finances, and always, always one eye on our health, wellness, and happiness, to make sure we’re on the path to really live well, doing this thing we love.

To help the people who want to make a full-time career out of writing, I decide my four themes are going to be craft, business skills, personal finance, and joy.

So here’s what you’ll find on the Welcome to the Writer’s Life blog:

Craft

As I say in my book, craft is not something you check off a list, it’s a life-long commitment. I have worked with writers who seem like they know everything about grammar, form, and the traditions of writing. I have to remind myself they are usually in their 50s or 6os. If I spend the next 20 years dedicated to a study of craft, I’ll be a craft badass, too.

Craft posts you’ll find here:

  • Read This to Learn That: Whenever I read a book I’d recommend, you’ll find a kind of “book report” about what you can learn from it as well.
  • My Favorite Writers’ Favorite Books: One of the best ways to expand your reading list is to follow the path from writers you love to the writers they love. I take recommendations from writers I love (which you might not have read before), and talk about books they love.
  • Book Lists: There’s so much to read, at times it can be helpful to have someone narrow books down to a theme or list for you. We could talk about general books I love, the best books for a certain time in your life, or books to study a particular aspect of the craft.

Business skills

If you want to be a writer as a career, then you have to learn how to make money from it. This is not guaranteed, even if you’re the most gifted bitch to tap a keyboard in the history of the world. Ok I lied, maybe then. But if you’re not that bitch, then you would benefit from learning some bizness. This includes how to negotiate, how to sell, and how to keep these mysterious things they call The Books.

Writing Business posts you’ll find here:

  • LinkedIn Learning Recommendations: This site started at Lynda.com, and I started learning on it in 2012. I just checked — I’ve completed 68 courses on what is now LinkedIn Learning, everything from a 12-hour course on SharePoint to a half-hour class on Writing Under A Deadline. It’s made me not only a better writer, but a more successful freelancer and entrepreneur. That might be dramatic, but it’s only because I was a terrible student in high school and college. I’m catching up.
  • Business skill tutorials: We’ll discuss conferences, networking, negotiations, and — gasp! — even sales for writers. Because one of my themes is personal finance, I know a lot of female entreprenuers. After one conference, they convinced me to double my rate, which I did, and still got work. That’s the power of business skills.
  • Entrepreneurship: I’m trying to earn the maximum amount per hour as I can so that I can devote as much time as possible to the reimbursement-averse activities of freewriting and reading. To me, entrepreneurship means finding creative ways of bringing value to the world so that you can get enough value back to support yourself as a writer, all in under 40 hours a week.

Personal Finance

My life took a hard left into the world of personal finance in 2016, when my article A Story of a Fuck Off Fund went viral. It was also a bit of fate. I had a financially traumatic childhood. As writers, we need to learn to be extra careful with our money, which is something I am definitely not good at.

Personal Finance posts you’ll find here:

Can We Talk About Money?: My podcast has the aesthetic of eavesdropping on conversations about money.

Money-saving tips: I don’t like being frugal for the sake of frugality, but I remember that every dollar saved is a few more minutes of writing time purchased.

Frugal skills: Cooking, tiny living, traveling on a budget. Everything that helps me make the writing life work without plunging my bank account into the red.

Joy

It’s not worth anything if we don’t enjoy the ride. These days, I am a happy writer, as opposed to, say 2015, when I heard that song “Happy” on the radio, and burst into tears because I was so depressed.

You’ve got to take care of you, the goose that lays these golden writing eggs.

So here are the joy-related posts you’ll find on the site:

Travel: I consider travel part of my education and living. It always brings me joy and inspires me to write.

Community: Beating back the loneliness of working solo and finding a place of connection.

Mental Health and Spirituality: Dealing with the anxiety from which we writers so often suffer, keeping on that meditation, and bringing ourselves out of panic and back to a place of calm worship of the craft.

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