I’m not what you would call a big spender. Though, to be honest, I’m not all that good at saving either. I’m happiest when we can pay our bills and have a little left over for fun. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about budgeting or planning for your financial future.)
Investing? That’s a whole different concept, something I don’t often think about. I don’t plan well, financially, for the future or think much about the old mantra: You gotta spend money to make money.
At least, I didn’t. Not until this year.
See, this year is the first year that I’ve started investing in my writing. What has been a fun hobby that I sometimes get paid for has become–or more accurately is becoming–a business I want to grow. Not just so I can make money (because believe me there isn’t a ton of money to be made in this business) but so I can do more of the kind of work I love.
This is the first year in many years that I’ve spent money on my writing. I’ve taken an online writing course. I bought a new computer. I attended a big-deal writing conference. All of these things cost money and it wasn’t necessarily money I had earned from my writing. (I told you, this is not a budget blog post. Do not take financial advice from me!) I’m choosing to see them as investments. Money now that will pay off later. I haven’t regretted any of my writing related purchases. (Buyer’s remorse isn’t really my thing anyway.)
In fact, I’m noticing how much more I value something if I put money into it. This writing course I paid for, well, I was more motivated to stick with it and finish it than I have been with other free online courses. Since the latter don’t cost me anything money-wise, it’s been difficult for me to devote time to them. But when I’ve paid for a course, well, I don’t want to waste the money so I stick with it. (My husband and I are finding this true for an online marriage enrichment series we’re participating in. We paid for it, so we must watch the videos and participate, otherwise, we’ve been wasting our money.)
And the same seemed to be true of the writing conference. People had paid a good sum of money to attend, so they took their work seriously and were dedicated to it. (This is not a requirement to be serious about your work, however.) I know, for me, the money spent to attend this conference made me think about my own work more seriously.
Money wasn’t the only investment, though.
I think until this year, I had assumed I could pursue my writing dreams without any cost of money or time or anything else. That’s simply not true.
Attending this conference meant that I missed most of my kids’ first week of school. And a wedding my husband was in. And a church picnic that I was supposed to organize and lead.
The truth is, at least for me, my writing life is a greedy one. It demands my attention and if I’m going to pursue my dream of someday having a book published, then it’s going to cost me. It’s going to cost me money to go to conferences and meet people who can help with that process. It’s going to cost me time away from my family and housework while I create a story worth reading. It’s going to cost me commitments that are good and worthy but that take away from the work I was made to do.
In short, I’m going to miss stuff by pursuing my dream.
But I know that if I miss out on my dream, I’ll be missing something greater.
I can’t have it all. (Shocking, right?) And I’m guessing you probably can’t either. Maybe there are rare people out there who can live their dreams without any sacrifice, but for most of us, we have to choose what we spend our time and money on. We always have a choice, but every choice is going to cost us something.
So, what are you investing in right now? What sacrifices might you have to make to follow your dreams? What will it cost you? And are you willing to pay the price?