horse chest piece on chess board

On unicorns & trail ponies

There are some incredible authors out there who land six-figure deals and float along the best seller lists. We call those the unicorns.

I’m not one of them, and that’s totally okay.

This writer is one of those trail ponies. You know, the kind that will keep going, head forward, up that mountain. That’s me.

First, for those who are new to my site, I have a lovely day job as a teacher. Perhaps some years down the road when our nest is empty, I may consider other options (full time writing?), but until then, writing is a little side dream into which I put forth my night shift energy. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Something else to know is that for many (if not most) authors, whether traditionally or self-published, royalities are best spent in the marketing of your existing books and writing the next. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to generate and sustain income from writing.

Quick note: this isn’t a complaint post. Not at all! Like any artist, writers create because it’s a passion, a need, a delight. While getting paid for what you love is nice, it’s not a requirement.

I take all my royalities and put them right back into my business. Like the majority of my writer friends, I invest in my work through paying for editors and workshops, advertising so readers can find me, and all the little bits and technology bobs involved in drafting novels.

Well, I finally made a profit.

It was really tough to force myself to spend a little money, but I wanted to celebrate the third book out in my series.

So, I bought a t-shirt.

Not just any t-shirt, though. I was playing with designs and my kid helped me make one. We wanted to create a pro-reading design that didn’t have words on it (translation: cool enough for a middle schooler). You can see the design to the left. She loved the result, so I bought it for her.

Big spender, I know.

So now what?

I still need to put the majority of what I earn back into my business. This is the reality.

However, the joy on my daughter’s face when she opened the package was super cool. She then said, “but you didn’t get anything for yourself, mom.”

So, I started thinking. Is there something I could use for my business, something part necessity, part luxury, that would make sense as a savings goal?

Then I looked around.

Remote teaching was hard.

Hard on me, and hard on my home.

What I call my office is really just a beat-up IKEA desk crammed in the corner of our living room with a second-hand office chair and a tiny filing cabinet. I splurged in 2020 and bought myself a monitor and a laptop stand so I could better see my students and their work. My keyboard is a Christmas gift from my father. The rest is just what I could put together to make it work. I did (and still do) a lot with a little. All together I taught from home for the better part of a year and what was already rough-and-tumble furniture took a few more hits.

I’m totally fine with the nicks and dings. There is something to be said for hanging onto our belongings in this disposable day and age. My parents didn’t raise me to be wasteful and I’m trying to teach my daughter the same values.

Now though, my desk drawer regularly ejects items out the back and my chair is coming apart at every seam. Duck tape only took me so far.

I think it’s almost time to level up. Something just for me.

The goal

Okay, so I could actually use a new desk. A chair is probably a good idea, too.

But which ones? I’ve made a Pinterest board with ideas. An office all to myself is much further down the road but imagining the possibilities has been lots of fun. Dreaming of what will be (see, positive thinking!) helps me keep my eye on the prize. I can already tell I like darker woods, rich blues, and lots of plants. Major library vibes.

As I narrow down what I’d like, each month I’m going to carve out a small amount of royalties for an office sinking fund. My goal is to purchase a new desk by Christmas and a new chair within the year. I’ll track my progress and keep you posted!

Leave a Reply