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Pay Yourself First - Making Money Without Getting Paid

Nov 20, 2007
You might not be used to depositing checks earned by the sweat of your pen (yet). That doesn't mean you can't start becoming financially savvy with your writing. One of the top tips for becoming financially empowered is to pay yourself first. How can you do that without incoming cash? Set your intention, and take a little action. Here are eight fun steps to make money a part of your writing, even before you get paid from others.

1) Begin by setting your intention to marry money with writing. Do this by opening a bank account for your writing life. Get a savings account and label it 'writing' or another inspiring name that will remind you of your intention.

2) Fund your account by paying yourself when you submit a query, finish a chapter, or achieve some other writing success. Don't wait for others to acknowledge your progress. It doesn't have to be a lot; even ten dollars for each success reminds you that you value your efforts.

3) Use your writing funds to pay for contest entry fees, subscriptions, and all that postage you'll need to mail your monster-sized manuscript. Or, earmark your account for a big reward for your writing such as a writing retreat or conference.

4) How we spend our money reveals what we value. Keep track of your writing-related expenditures. Make writing a priority and investigate how you can shift your financial priorities to support your writing. Keep a log of your writing money and see where you are spending more money than time on your writing.

5) Calculate the return of 'psychic payment' on the writing you do. These include the side effects, or benefits, that you get from doing something. Psychic payments from writing could be: feeling of satisfaction with yourself, surge of power from expressing yourself, excitement over completing and submitting something. How do these non-monetary rewards 'pay' you?

6) Take a tip from Jim Carrey, a supremely successful creative person. Carrey wrote himself a check for 20 million dollars and carried it in his wallet during his struggling actor days. Try this for yourself. Write a whopping check and in the memo line, put Book Advance. Carry it around or post it in your writing zone.

7) Make your money goals clear. Write down when you'd like to put your work into the world for pay, what you'd like to get paid, and what you're willing to work for. Set a standard for yourself and stick to it. For instance, your intention might look like this - After January, 2006, I publish only for payment in money (not clips or copies).

8) Get dreamy. What will you do with the money you earn from writing? You might take a trip, pay off your computer or fund a writer's conference. Write down your big vision of how you will spend your hard-earned cash. I suggest funneling the money back into your writing.

You will be surprised at the results of connecting money to your creativity. By bringing awareness and financial focus to your writing, you prepare yourself for the day when others pay you for your words. Keep track of emotions, ideas, and external events that stem from your efforts. Take steps toward putting your work out there for pay. And have fun with it!
About the Author
Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse helps writers and visionaries make their brilliant ideas a reality. Author of Create Your Writer's Life: A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease, and Go For It! Leading Tours for Fun and Profit, Cynthia coaches from Boulder.
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