I recently submitted a piece of my writing to a writing contest. It cost me 20 smackeroos.
When I went to mint.com (not sure if y'all use this site, but I love it) to categorize my purchases, I made a specific decision with the $20 I spent on the writing contest entry.
I labeled it "Business Services."
This was new for me.
I had used the Business Services label when making copies of my clips to hand to an interviewer, or to print off my resume when I didn't have a printer available at home.
Even then, "Business Services" sounded a little too much like I had my own business, but I let it go and moved on to something else on the Internet.
This recent decision had me holding my head a little higher, however.
This year, I have a New Year's resolution to spend one day each month working on a chapter of my book.
Is this frightening?
You bet your bottom making-it-as-a-writer dollar it is.
But I did it, this past Saturday. I honestly felt like whining a fair amount of the time. And I wrote eight pages of journal pages, rambly pages, things that had nothing to do with the mental health/spirituality story that I want to write.
Finally, the last two pages were actually book...ish. Where I think my story should sorta-kinda start. Minus flashbacks to childhood that I'm sure will pop in.
Yikes! Book! I'm getting nervous just writing about the task.
Remind me this is a good idea.
This week I've sought out some writing contests (via pw.org), and decided to submit some stuff to those. Generally the prizes are cash (holla) and publication, and the publication aspect is pretty great.
So when I was hanging out on mint, I decided to deem my payment as a business expense.
Because I'm a writer. And I want to get paid for it. And I would love for it to be the primary task of my day.
Thank God I've chilled a little in my feeling of "I must be a full time writer NOW!!!!" Because the reality is if you're a single person without super wealthy parents and it's important to you to live on your own in a big city and eat while you're at it, well then, you might have to do something else in the meantime.
And work on your writing on the sidelines, which might make you (me) whine.
But lately I've got this fever in me, or something, that's like, "Let's do this!"
I'm not really sure what's gotten into me.
Maybe I got sick of saying I was a writer and then just not writing very much.
Maybe I told too many people about my book and felt more and more like a fraud having, well, no book to back up my talk.
Maybe that most recent freelance piece tasted pretty good.
So I counted the writing contest entry fee as a business service.
Not changing it back. Not to hobbies. Not to entertainment.
Don't get me wrong, I haaaate business books and business talk and blah blah blah. It literally makes me yawn when conversations get too corporate at work. I just want to get back to the busy work and the overall reason why we're doing our work (I work at a mental health center, so for me the answer to that is helping people overcome their anxiety and depression and managing their schizophrenic symptoms and getting off the streets, yay!) and then take a coffee break and laugh with my coworkers.
But then someone asks me about myself and I say "I'm a writer" and then I feel that non-book nagging at me.
$20. Not in the red. In the zone.