If I Had a Billion Dollars…

No, this isn’t going to be a blog post about all the wonderful things I would do with a billion dollars… travel the world, devote tons of money to various worthwhile charities (some personal favorites are Gospel for Asia and WorldVision, but there are others I would support too), pay off our mortgage (buy a new house) and grad school loans, and all the other standard things most people would do.

This is a “what would I do differently in my writing life if money wasn’t an issue” blog post. All those things I listed above are great, but this is a writing blog and I wanted to think about how monetary considerations affect my writing career.

First, money isn’t why I write. But there are some things I might do differently if money was completely out of the picture.

1) I’d splurge on babysitting and give myself two mornings a week to just write. At the moment, I’m 6 months pregnant and a stay at home mom of a 2.5 year old. I also do some government consulting. I’m not teaching karate at the moment. I’m generally pretty tired, despite my best efforts at getting to bed early. I can really only write during my daughter’s naptime or after she goes to bed, which means I’m directly sacrificing my own rest during the day and time with my husband at night. When I wasn’t pregnant, I enjoyed working during that quiet afternoon naptime, but now my daughter is older, her naps are getting shorter, and I’m more tired… I really feel it when I don’t rest when I have that chance.

If I could be exhausted and still write well, I’d probably do it. But unfortunately, the more tired I am, the more I end up using the time unproductively, surfing the internet, “brainstorming” without coming up with anything new, or staring at a blank screen for an hour at a time. Sometimes I can power through those down times when I don’t know exactly what comes next… but when I’m really tired, I can’t, no matter how much I try.

I probably wouldn’t do it more than two mornings a week, at least at first. I cherish that time with my daughter, and I don’t want anyone else to have it. However, even those few extra hours a week of time to write while I’m not exhausted would do wonders for my productivity.

2) I’d splurge on editing. I’ve been fortunate in the past with the editing talent and skill offered to me at no cost by generous friends. But those wonderful editors and beta readers aren’t available to me anymore due to health considerations and other real life demands. Soon I’ll be selecting a freelance editor(s) for my upcoming books, and while the expense is far from the top consideration, it is still a factor.

3) I’d have a dedicated writing area in my house. At the moment, our new-to-us house is under renovation. Most of the work is more or less cosmetic… gutting a mustard-yellow bathroom to modernize it was a choice, not a requirement, because it worked perfectly fine. The kitchen renovation that we hope to complete before Baby #2 comes along is similarly a choice rather than a true requirement (although the chipped 1962 original brown formica countertops, original gas stove, high cabinets that I can’t reach, and terrible layout are driving me slowly insane). We’ll be doing the work ourselves, with huge amounts of help from our parents (who actually know what they’re doing) and probably a few contractors to do things like move the gas line and water line and such.

Those things all take priority before making me a writing area. I don’t actually want much, just a quiet space that isn’t used for anything else. If money wasn’t an object, we’d probably do less of the destruction and construction ourselves, we’d finance our parents being here more so they can help with the construction (yes, they genuinely enjoy it and wouldn’t be happy if we contracted it all out), and we’d contract out more of it in order to save time and inconvenience.

AND we’d get to my writing space sooner! We’re looking at finishing about half of the unfinished space in our basement. Half the basement is already finished, so this would give us basically one more room, with only the utility area unfinished. That room will be the writing area / husband’s study / jewelry area (I make jewelry too! You can see my work at Shy Violet.). It sounds like it would be crowded, but it wouldn’t be – it’s a decent space and without the extra bookshelves and random things that currently clutter our study, it should be pretty functional.

4) I’d actually advertise my books! I know paid advertising isn’t the only way to loads of sales, but I wouldn’t feel bad about spending a little bit to get that initial bit of publicity and visibility. Right now, I’ve had some very nice reviews, but I’m languishing in the abyss of invisibility.

Why even care about sales? Because I love love love the thought of people reading and enjoying my books. I know the money from each sale wouldn’t even be noticeable against the Scrooge McDuck piles of money that a billion dollars would be (I can’t imagine that much money… it seems like it must be fictional, even though I understand that 1,000,000,000 is an actual number). I just want more people to read and enjoy my books. I’d probably make them all free, although free ebooks tend to languish on people’s Kindles while paid-for books tend to get read. Psychologically, somehow that makes sense. I just want to reach more people. I wouldn’t be a desperate crazy author waving my books around at highway intersections or anything, but I’d definitely be willing to spend money to get my books in front of the people who would enjoy them.

I could donate paperback copies to every library in the country. That would be fun!

5) I would splurge on more book-related art. I’d have different covers made for new print runs, I’d get special humongous poster-size art, and anything else you can think of. I’d probably wallpaper my writing area with it.

6) I would go to lots of conventions! I’m going to Awesome Con DC this year (which will be funny because I’ll be 38 weeks pregnant, but that’s another story) and I might go to Intervention Con again (I’m waiting to apply until after the baby is born). But I’d try to make another big convention or two without considering travel costs.

7) And writing conventions! Like the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference, the Jackson Hole Writers Conferencethe Indie Author Conferencethe Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the Yale Writers Conference. Oh hey… IndieReCon is free and online, so there’s nothing stopping me from doing it this year!

What would you do differently in your creative endeavors if money wasn’t an issue?