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What a Rich Life Means to Me

Earlier this year, I had a profound realization, as a writer I’m not only an artist, but also a businesswoman. I’d never put two and two together. If I want to make a living as a writer, then I need to continue making that connection.

So, one of the first steps I took is to build myself a writing tracker, and make writing goals. I wrote a novel in 84.75 hours over three months, which is pretty fast considering all my other obligations and responsibilities. If I were writing full-time, I probably would have been able to write that novel in 4-5 weeks instead of 12-15 weeks.

However, now, I am only writing part-time, and I am happy with my progress. The novel I’m working on now is being a bit annoying to me. But, in drips and drabs, I am writing it. That piece of the puzzle is the part I love the most.

Another piece of the puzzle is money.

I’m working on a loose plan of trying to get my trilogy finished and polished so that I can indie publish it mid-2014. I’m not sure that is entirely realistic. However, that is why the plan is loose and I’m trying to keep it flexible.

Considering my need for control, that is a feat in and of itself. However, the plan to publish in the next 12-18 months brings me to other questions, like money. The idea that my novels will need to slow build is one that I can mentally handle. It would also give me the ability to take things slowly.

But, what happens if for whatever reason, the novel took off? This led me down the path of financial self-education. The need to understand and to be able to come to the table prepared has led me down this path.

So far, I’ve read: The Top 10 Differences Between Employees and Employees by Keith Cameron Smith and Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett: The Winning Strategy to Help Achieve Your Financial Life Goals by Larry E. Swedroe. I need to reread Swedroe’s book because there is some information on risk diversification that I haven’t fully integrated into my mind. I still don’t 100% understand it. Luckily for me, it is a short book.

I have also just started to read Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman. I’m not sure how useful the book is going to be overall, I’m only a couple of chapters into reading it. But, in those few chapters, Suze Orman has been making me think.

She tells the story of a woman who defined what rich meant to her. And so, now, here I am trying to think about what rich means to me. In some ways, this feels sort of cheesy to me, but in other ways it makes sense. If I can envision it, then I can make it happen.

What a rich life means to me:

The ability to write what I want, when I want to, and to publish it or not as I see fit. Writing is what makes life worth living for me. Telling people stories and hopefully entertaining them.

I love my friends and family. I want to enjoy them as much as possible. However, I am a happier and more fulfilled person when I am writing. This makes me a better partner, friend, sister, and daughter.

Everything else is incidental. If I can’t write, then who am I? For me, a rich life includes writing – and plenty of time in which to write.

Some things that I might want along with time to write include being able to pay all my bills. Having time and money to travel. I love seeing new places and experiencing history firsthand. I would go back to Europe every year if I could. My one good friend wants to go to Australia for 2 weeks in 2015. We’ll see if that happens. I would love to see Machu Pichu. Asia, Africa, where in the world wouldn’t I want to go?

It would be great to have some money to buy a camera. Mine died four years ago, and I just haven’t had the money to buy a new one. Rent and tuition bills kept getting in the way of that – silly responsibility. I would love to have time to invest in new creative outlets. I’m learning how to knit now. I’m almost done with my first scarf.

I have a ton of scrap-booking and jewelry making stuff in storage, but I also don’t have a lot of time to pursue those hobbies. So mostly, my free time now goes to writing and reading.

So how can I synthesize all of this together? What does a rich life mean to me?

For me, a rich life is having the time to write, play, and enjoy the company of those I love.

And for that life, I am learning how to manage theoretical money that may or may not happen.

© K. Klein 2013

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Life outside of writing

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one’s face.  ~James D. Finley

I bitch and moan about writing a lot, but when I finally get down to it; it is what I love to do. However, I do plan on making it my career, or at least one of them, depending on how things pan out. That means that I need to figure out ways to blow off steam and refill the well.

One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading, but that also tends to be from a critical or work space. Especially if a book is not working for me or I am trying to tackle one of those cannon novels I can’t believe I didn’t read in college when I was working towards an English degree.

I have things that I am interested in learning how to do that I don’t quite have the money to pursue at the moment, but I guess that is ok. Here is a brief list:

  • Learning Spanish – an addendum to this one b/c my wonderful public library has a subscription to Mango, which is an online language learning service. I just found out about it today. It is awesome. I still want to take a conversational class at my local community college. I really want to improve my speaking confidence.
  • Take a painting class
  • Learn how to knit/ crochet. I really want to knit myself a pair of arm warmers
  • Learn how to quilt
  • Resume jewelry making. Stuff is in storage now. If I had some money, maybe take a class.
  • Learn how to sew more than a basic hand stitch. (Even than needs work). Boyfriend’s mom just lent us her sewing machine, score. Now to make time.
  • Travel
  • Photography – I need to keep reminding myself my phone has a camera. I really, really want a DSLR

Aside from crafty stuff, I enjoy going to museums, concerts, plays, and other cultural events. Sadly, in my major metropolitan area, it is super expensive to get into the awesome museums. If/ when I have money, I want a membership to my local major art museum. I always leave that museum feeling refreshed and inspired.

On the bright side, I can take walks in local parks for free. The weather isn’t conducive to that right at the moment. But my area does have lovely places for me to go and wander around. And I also enjoy doing yoga. And the volunteer tutoring I started in January.

I suppose once I get my financial life back in order, I can pursue some of these things. I just need to have patience. I also need to focus a bit. For real, I am not a reckless dilettante despite what this list says about me. But it is nice to know that I do have a life outside of reading and writing – things that can be rather cerebral pursuits. Because really, I don’t have a hard time relaxing, not at all. No, not me.

©K. Klein 2013

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