We did our taxes yesterday. 2008 was the best year ever for me for $$ earned from writing. Still not enough to quit my day job, but that’s okay.
I remember when I first started claiming myself as a writer on my taxes. Every year, my preparer would take all my deductions for what I spent on office supplies, going to conferences and buying Writer’s Market. Then she’d ask for income and I’d say “none.”
This happened for three years in a row, despite me working really hard to try to generate some writing income. Then the fourth year, I made a couple hundred bucks. The next year I tripled that. Every year since then, my writing income increased. I now make more on writing than I spend.
The way I did it was to keep on sending stuff out. I just kept pitching, trying, writing spec pieces. I wrote for free and sometimes it turned into a paying job. I wrote for free and somebody found it and paid me to write something else. Editors started saying yes to my queries. There’s no secret formula, just working harder and longer than any sane person.
I pushed myself because I had to prove (if only to myself) that I could do it. But now I’m sort of done with that. I’m teaching more, and don’t have the time or the energy to pitch to magazines or enter competitions or submit to anthologies. I really just want to write this novel this year.