My writing is important to me, but lately I’ve had to take an honest look at what it is I want and need to do with my life. I’ve concluded I want to write. As a result, I am setting aside time to write.
And, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and investing in resources. Connecting with people who write, buying books, attending conferences.
As part of my honest analysis, I admitted to myself that I also need to make money.
This week I came across some very timely advice that I plan to apply to my writing and you might find it useful as well.
I went to Chip MacGregor‘s website because he will be at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference I plan to attend in August. Before a conference it’s a good idea to do some homework and read up on the agents and editors who will be there. Chip is a sought after agent, and the owner of MacGregor Literary. I have also submitted the first ten pages of my manuscript to him under the OCW Manuscript Submission Program.
In his article, Ask the Agent: Is it Realistic to Think of Making My Living at Writing, he caught my attention with this statement:
Set a financial goal, start to work toward it, and look for opportunities to generate some income from your writing skill.
Writers, Chip says, are pathetically underpaid and we seem to think we just have to accept that, but this is not the case. Chip’s idea is we need to take charge of our careers and make sure we are getting paid.
Here are a couple of suggestions from Ask the Agent: What’s the One Piece of Advice You’d Give a Career Writer:
Develop a writing calendar….a document that details what you’re going to write each day.
To figure out what you put into each day, you look at your “to do” list and do some prioritizing. What needs to get written today? What will pay off? What will push your career forward?
…you don’t just write down the goal for each day and stop. You then go back and add in a dollar figure, so each project is seen as contributing to your budget.
Figuring out your writing value isn’t hard — if your goal is to make $36,000 per year at writing, you’re trying to make $3000 per month, or $750 per week, or an average of $150 pr day.
“Write in a dollar figure.” Have you ever thought of your writing in this way? I hadn’t.
This becomes important when you are considering a writing assignment. You estimate how many hours/weeks the job will take you to finish, and then you calculate how much it will bring in and consider if it fits within your overall budget plan. He gives an example:
You’re expecting to sell that book for about $5000, so each chapter has a monetary value of roughly $250.
Let’s do the math. If you are only making $5000 on a book, or another assignment, then, to stay within a $36,000 budget, you need to complete this project in less than two months. That’s probably unrealistic for a book.
If you know it will take you six months of steady writing to complete the work, you need to make $18,000 when it is finished.
Our writing has intrinsic value as it educates, informs, entertains and inspires our readers. But from a practical standpoint, if we want to survive as writers, we may have to become strategic and place a dollar value on our writing.
Thanks Chip MacGregor for the heads up!