The True Cost of Writing
I read a post yesterday from writingatmidnight here on WP titled The Cost of Writing. I found that it really hit home with me. I, too, get email updates from various sites like The Writer, and Writer’s Digest and am always so excited about an online workshop or webinar until I scroll down to the price. 😦
I have a day job as you all know. I am not a starving artist living in a Paris garret and scrounging empty bottles to recycle for cash. But at the same time, I am not willing to drop a couple hundred dollars every month or two on a workshop. I wish I did have the time and expendable income to attend every one of them and just suck up all that writerly knowledge like a sponge, but alas, there is a mortgage, vet bills, and let’s face it, I do like regular meals.
So what is a writer to do? What is anyone to do who longs to pursue a passion without going bankrupt in the process?
I have always been a big believer in books. I honestly believe that no matter what you want to know or learn, it has been written about somewhere. The trick is to find the right book for your needs and not spend too much money in the process. Libraries are a great resource. You can access most card catalogs online and discover if they have what you are looking for without even having to get out of your pajamas. If you are like me though– it is all about Amazon! I may have personally kept that website fiscally sound since I discovered it years ago. 🙂 And the used books are a great cost saver!
Other writing costs…
A computer is great for writing and at some point in the path to publication (especially if you are self publishing) it becomes mandatory. If you write longhand, pen and paper are relatively cheap, but then you have to either pay someone to type it for you or find an agent/publisher who is willing to take a chance on reading your 1000 page novel handwritten in 85 notebooks. With all the odds stacked against a new writer, I would think that would be a strike against you before your masterpiece even finds its way out of the slush pile.
As far as classes and workshops go, you can find some freebies online, and writingatmidnight included several links in the post highlighted above. There is also Writer’s Village University. For a 1st year membership of $99 and an annual renewal of $69, you can take as many classes as you want! I was a WVU member for a couple years and enjoyed every class I signed up for there. Most of them are self-monitored by the class, meaning you do the posted assignments and discuss them, critique each others work, and so on, but there is no teacher. Others are moderated and led by a teacher. There are hundreds of classes to choose from and while it isn’t free, it is a great value.
Or you could go the free route and read a lot. Books, blogs, writing forums– all free on the internet! I have learned so much over the last nine months from fellow bloggers, and writers’ groups such as SheWrites, WANA and Writer Unboxed. There are writerly groups on Facebook to follow and participate in as well as writers, publishers, agents, and readers on Twitter.
Last year, I came across the concept of a “writer’s tribe” from Kristen Lamb, and at first I thought that it didn’t apply to me. I didn’t belong to a writer’s group; I didn’t have anyone to really talk to about my writing concerns other than my husband and a few close friends and family. I didn’t know anyone else who was trying to write a novel, or five!
Now I realize that my tribe is so much bigger than I first imagined. It stretches across oceans and reaches around the entire globe. The writer tribe is large and welcoming. It includes every writer and blogger I have come across. From learning craft to tips on submissions to formatting books to self publish – whatever help you are looking for, or if you just need a little pep talk, this tribe is there for you.