Count the Cost


There’s a verse in the Bible that reads, “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” Luke 14:28 NLT

Pursuing the dream of writing can be expensive. There’s the hardware involved: computer (usually a laptop), printer, phone, tablet and so on.

Operating in today’s publishing world requires Internet (few publishers or agents accept snail mail submissions).

There’s conferences and workshops to attend either in person or online. There’s travel, hotel, food and miscellaneous items.

If we join a local critique group, there’s gas and car maintenance.

In other words, it ain’t cheap.

On top of all this, current research indicates only a small number of writers make a living through their writing.

In business terms, there may be little ROI (return on our investment).

I recommend having a plan for the financial aspects of your writing. Check your finances. Set a budget for your writing. Make a spending plan for your finances. There are plenty of resources out there to help organize your information. Here are a few:,,

We have to make sure our spouse is included in managing our finances and in using some of our resources to pursue our writing dream. In the beginning, the money is going to come from someplace in your current finances. Where?

We need to make sure our four financial walls are covered: housing, food, clothing and transportation. Next consider the cost and amount of our debt beyond our house and car payments. Can we afford to add more debt or do we need to focus on reducing or eliminating current debt first?

As we work our spending plan, do we find any money freed up? Mark that as our writing money and set up a bank account. It may only be $15 a week. It may be $100. Then figure out what we need for writing besides what’s listed above. Things like books and magazines on the craft, joining organizations.

Identify conferences and workshops we want to attend in the next year. Count the cost: registration fees, hotel and transportation, food, spending money.

We may need to make some choices because we probably won’t be able to do it all. Now we face the decision of what can we afford to do? What is the best allocation of our resources? What event promises the most benefit to improving our craft, building our network, improving our prospects for success?

The other expense to consider is time. We only have twenty-four hours a day. We can’t negotiate for more hours. We have to work within what we have. So our time, like our finances, needs to be managed. When will we write? How will we make time for family, church, work, chores, errands, etc. and still have time to write?

How have you managed your finances as you follow your writing dream? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t?


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