So we’re trying to refi our rental property for the zillionth time, and have been jumping through fiery hoops with mortgage brokers and underwriters who have demanded a TON of paperwork and tax info. Handling all this paperwork has forced me to, uh, I dunno — READ IT FOR THE FIRST TIME, REALLY, EVER — and here’s what I learned:
I didn’t make one red cent from my writing last year.
Now, I do have to cut myself a LITTLE slack — last year I was kinda busy with my infant twins (not to mention their big sisters). And it’s not like I wasn’t WRITING — I co-wrote the first three drafts of a screenplay, and a one-hour TV drama, and wrote and performed a personal essay for the Afterbirth reading series. Plus I was thinking long and hard about ChecklistMommy.com.
Problem is — ALL OF THE WORK I DID LAST YEAR WAS ON SPEC.
ALL OF IT.
And see how I said I CO-WROTE that screenplay? “Co-writer” is just another word for COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY, OUTSIDE OF MY CONTROL.
That can not happen this year. This year, Sarah Kate Levy, Freelance Writer / Editor, is taking the monetary bull by the BULLISH HORNS, PLEASE! and making that fancy liberal arts degree — and the Master’s, for Chrissakes — start paying for itself.
Otherwise she’s heading back to school in whatever industry actually still pays in this piss poor economy. Hmm.
In the meantime, I’m still pursuing the dream. Here’s how:
- ChecklistMommy.com — short-term, having a blast writing the posts and making webby-Mommy pals, building my list and my larger network. Learning a bit of HTML. Starting to earn affiliate money, which is cool. Long-term, hoping this platform will open me up to selling content to more traditional parenting venues that pay per word, or story. Wouldn’t mind a steady Mommy-journalism income — I mean, if you’re supposed to write what you know, hey, I know a hell of a lot of Mommy-stuff now.
- Mommy-essays (and other) — short term, spending money to take a class on writing essays, which has always been tough for me, and more importantly: how to pitch them to magazines, online-and-off. Hoping this leads to long-term opportunity.
- Screenplay commission (aka “The Sonoma Project”) — short-term, delivering this script isn’t a huge pay-out, but it’s something. Long-term, if the script gets MADE, there’s a lot more money there. (Granted, my sense of “a lot more money” may be slightly skewed by last year’s NO MONEY threshold.)
- Last year’s co-written screenplay (aka “NWJ”) — short-term, it’s actually back in play (shocker, really) and is supposedly going out to buyers and money people next week. So there might by some cash there, if all goes well.
- Last year’s spec one-hour drama — short-term, re-developing it to try to sell the pitch, make money. Long-term, using it as a calling card to try to drum up other TV / film work.
- This year’s spec TV scripts — short-term, percolating. Need a bigger pile of specs, though, if the long-term desire for a bigger payout in that arena is going to pan out.
- Pitches for my friend who runs MoBad — still percolating — but that’s an income opportunity, and I need to give it more attention, umm, now.
- Editing business — getting ready to relaunch, and hard.
What I find so funny about this list is that there isn’t a single plain-old FICTION project on it. Which is hilarious, considering this blog used to be about my attempts at writing a novel. Which maybe I’ll do someday. After I try all this other stuff …