In reviewing money I spent last year on writing-related expenses, I once again have been pondering when this money is well-spent, and where my priorities are.
The best purchase I made was a netbook, basically a smaller-sized laptop computer. My laptop is several years old, and since I have no desktop computer and often write outside of my house, it’s vital. I could have bought a new full-sized laptop, or even a desktop, but the netbook was the best option for me; because it’s small. I’ve carried it a few times when I would not have carried my old laptop, and gotten extra writing done as a result. I feel safer having a backup machine. Finally, the netbook supports the most important thing about writing professionally, which is the writing itself.
At the moment, my website [www.victoriajanssen.com] isn’t much; it’s up to date, and provides all the relevant information, but I did not pay for a designer, or for any fabulous graphics or gadgets. I’m still pondering whether a web designer should be in my future. I think I will reconsider that question, if I sell another book; until then, I think the site does what I meant it to, that is, serve as a source of information for interested readers, even if they’re bringing up the page on their Blackberry. If I pay more money and get a fancier website, it will then require more of my time; I’ll have to provide more content for it, and think about said content. Those things will eat into time which I spend on writing. So it’s a lower priority.
After travel to conferences, which I consider very important for networking and maintaining my sanity as a writer, my other largest expense is books. Books…well, books are a luxury. I could get more books for free, or from libraries, but I love books, and having them makes me happy. Also, sometimes having the relevant reference to hand means I don’t have to trudge outside in the snow and take the bus to the library. I consider my book habit justified; in my budget, it replaces such things as a car and its associated costs, cable television, and high-speed internet. And if I don’t read, my writer’s brain is not fed; also, if I don’t read in my genre, I don’t know my genre. So once again, books come back to the writing, and I count it a justified cost.
How about you?