As writers, we don’t require a lot, but there are a few investments in our work that can make a big difference.
Hey, some paper, a pen, along with a good story and we’re off to the races, right?
Sure! But there does come a time when you may want to invest in some things that are strictly for your writing to make your life a bit (or a lot) easier.
Here are ten suggestions. Believe me you don’t need all of them. If you choose to do any of these things remember to always keep the receipt for income tax purposes. If you’re a writer, these are tools for your trade.
1. A Good Computer
For me, this has been the investment that continues to pay off.
If you don’t have a reliable computer it can make research, writing, and submitting very difficult.
Do your research though. I have a MacBook Air and I love it because it’s sync’d with my phone. This allows me to take pix and easily upload to use in my blogs and such.
I am not a computer or tech expert by any stretch of the imagination…..lol…actually even thinking that makes me laugh. My suggestion would be this: get trusted advice from someone who isn’t trying to sell you anything. Sales people will tell you each one is the best EVER! Umm…yeah sure.
Make a list of what you’ll use the computer for and then start asking questions. Also you want the investment to last! While you get what you pay for, you shouldn’t have to put out thousands for a computer or laptop.
2. Computer software like Grammarly or ProWriter
Both Grammarly and ProWriter have free versions that you can use for the basics.
I used Grammarly for a long time especially for the placement of commas. (Me and commas have serious issues in dealing with each other!)
Grammar and spelling are not my strong points. I know the basics but get lost in the dangling participle who’s hooked up with a conjunction over by the adjectives!
Seriously, I don’t have the patience or desire to learn any of this stuff again. I memorized and passed the tests in school–enough.
So, there’s an app for that–lol.
Having software can help you with the basics. I ended up purchasing a life time membership to Pro-Writer Aide when it was on sale (always on sale around Christmas/New Years) at 50% off. Great deal.
TBH I’m still learning all the ins and outs of it but love that I have it close by to polish up my work. Great investment. But that being said, don’t hesitate to use the free version. I did that for a long time too.
3. Invest in Books.
Reading is the single best thing you can do to improve your writing. Books are expensive though.
One way around going broke in the bookstore, is to borrow the books from the library first.
Isn’t it wonderful that we have access to free books on anything. We’re very fortunate to have that.
Read from the library or free e-books first and if it’s a book you highly admire and love then go out and purchase it.
Used book stores are also a great invention. You can get lost in them for hours.
Book exchanges. Dirty Book Sales. Sharing with friends…No matter how, invest in books and not only the fiction but also the non-fiction and how-to-write books.
4. Take an Online Workshop
When covid hit, everything went online. There are many online workshops that are free.
If you’re nervous about getting bugged later to buy the larger programs etc., then set up and use a generic email account so your regular email doesn’t get flooded with advertising.
There’s a lot of good stuff out there.
Read the entry and don’t hesitate to ask if there’s fees or sales pitches.
If you want to invest more that time, then you can always purchase a class.
I’ve heard good things about the the Master Class series but haven’t taken any myself.
Ask around. Take a look at the reviews. Have fun.
5. Go to A Writing Conference or Festival
One thing you must learn to do as a writer, is network. This can be a challenge for many but will pay off in the end with learning and connecting. Read about a conference I went to HERE.
Meeting writers with the same interests is magical.
This is a big part of going to conferences.
Now that the pandemic is behind us (fingers crossed), live events are starting up again.
There are many events out there with various price points and focuses.
Some are specially for beginners while others are more literary and still others are so cost prohibitive that they don’t work for the average writer.
Do your research.
Look and see if there are hidden prices. Who’s presenting? Are they of interest to you? There’s no sense in attending a conference that has a bunch of fantasy and sci-fi writers if you’re into nonfiction self-help writing.
A good conference will have something for everyone and be upfront about pricing.
I’m currently organizing the Wine Country Writers’ Festival in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. It has something for everyone and is boutique in nature.
Going to writing events such as these allow you to meet, and hopefully connect, with professionals and writers’ from all over the country, and sometimes, the world.
Totally an investment in yourself and your writing. If you’re resourceful, maybe you could combine this one with #10!
6. Invest in a Mentor
This is an active partnership with a professional writer or editor who teach and lead you through the process of writing your book.
This could be very helpful for those who require accountability and direction.
You’ll really have to do your research on this because I would imagine the prices vary widely.
Don’t hesitate to ask for references both professional and personal.
If you’re going to invest in a mentor you need to connect on a level of understanding that takes you that extra mile.
There needs to be mutual respect and investment in getting the project completed. If the mentor is all about money, move on.
7. Join Toastmasters
This may sound like an old-fashioned idea but there’s a reason the organization has survived over the years.
Here’s the thing, as a writer, there will come a time when you’ll be expected to share your work by reading sections in public.
Toastmasters is well known for building confidence and teaching tricks of public speaking.
Learn it now, get comfortable in front of others. This is a skill that can be learned and one every writer needs.
8. Get Yourself a Website
This gives you the ability to to have a landing page where you can put information about yourself and your writing.
A website doesn’t need to cost you anything. Google free websites. Let me warn you though, there can be hidden fees. Don’t fall into a trap of paying for a bunch of stuff you don’t need.
WordPress has a personal plan that’s about 5$ per month. I used that for a long time.
If you don’t want to spend any money, then make yourself a special Facebook Writer Page.
The idea is to allow people to find you, separate from your personal social sites.
It’s nice to be able to direct others to a place where you’ve posted a nice professional picture and reference your work. I would suggest you keep it professional.
This is not a place for a bunch of family or personal shot unless that’s the share you’re going for.
9. Hire (invest in) a Professional Editor
This can really be a make or break investment for your writing.
Editors can be expensive, but remember, you get what you pay for.
If you want your wife or friend to be your editor, but they have no literary or grammatical experience then that’s your choice–probably not a great one, but a choice nonetheless.
Here’s the thing, a properly edited work is not only more readable and well put together, it presents as more professional and thus, reflects back on the author in a positive way.
There are students in MFA programs that do editing on the side, there are many authors who hire themselves out for editorial advice, and of course there is the pro who pays their rent through editing.
Here are a few questions you want to ask yourself as you learn about edits. Some things to think about:
- what kind of edit do you need? developmental? line edit? what? Learn the difference. HERE
- set a budget.
- ask other writer friends for recommendations.
- be willing to listen and learn.
- don’t be surprised if your work is torn apart–part of writing is rewriting.
- view it as a necessary thing to make your work better.
Remember there are editors who are just starting out in their careers who may offer a deal. Before you take your work to a professional, do your leg work–they may offer to read the first few pages for free.
And, read THIS as it is the prep work you can do before sending your work to an editor that can save you a lot of time and money.
10. Take Yourself on a Retreat.
Once I’m back on the writing track, this is probably my favourite way to invest in myself and my writing.
To retreat, simply means to distance yourself from your normal routine or space.
The physical distance and change of scenery from your normal working environment, can recharge your imagination, energy, and inspiration.
A retreat may be:
- Renting a hotel room for the weekend. Off season you can get good rates.
- Going to a BnB for a couple of nights.
- Going and sitting at Starbucks for the day with your laptop.
- Heading to the library to tuck into the corner.
- An organized retreat to an exotic area–Hawaii? Paris? With a bunch of strangers.
- Organize some writer friends and rent a cabin together for a week–or better–go alone.
- I organized a retreat for 19 people. It was marvellous. Pix HERE.
- House sit for someone and use the quiet time to write.
- Consider a restaurant or coffee shop as YOUR retreat. Go every morning and work! Then change it up and go to a park and retreat from the coffee shop…
A retreat from your normal routine, and place of writing, can really be a much needed reset.
Keep your costs down by being creative with what a retreat means to you. Have fun and get inspired.
As writers, we don’t have a lot of overhead, as far as expenses go, but it is important to invest in your craft, and yourselves, some of the time.
I hope these ten suggestions help and inspire you to invest in your talent.
Good luck and remember, you’re worth it.
Now, tell me which one you’ll do first. I’m curious to see where you put the priority. There’s no right tor wrong answer… everyone is different. Just leave a comment below.
I just got back from a trip. It wasn’t a retreat because it wasn’t specifically for my writing, but that being said, I do feel a sense of renewed energy and inspiration. Now I want to go to a conference and reconnect with writers after such a long hiatus.
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