Tag Archives: amy atwell

Tax Tips for Writers

Moonday Mania

a blog on writing

Today I’m going to talk a little about taxes. Now as a pre-published author, I pretty much skipped doing anything with my writing expenses. But I also didn’t have too many expenses. If you are writing and have a reasonable amount of expenses, you should think about taking the deductions. I’m not a tax expert, never going to happen, but here are  a few tips I’ve gleaned over the last year.

  1. Keep all your receipts. Even the small ones. If they are for something like coffee with your crit partners, write a note on the back so you remember what it’s for. I keep track of all my expenses in a program called Quicken and I keep track in the special spot for notes.
  2. Something on my list is to purchase a scanner. Have you noticed that nowadays most receipts fade?  I don’t know about you, but that’s the stuff of nightmares, handing your box of receipts to the IRS agent and they are all blank.
  3. After you scan your receipts you should upload them to the cloud. Whatever cloud you use. I use Dropbox. This way if your computer dies you are not handing the IRS agent a dead hard drive. And back everything up. The computer ate your receipts is no excuse.
  4. Be reasonable. Do you think it is really tax deductible? Find out and then don’t be stupid. The refrigerator for the house is not tax deductible no matter how many times you stare into it for inspiration.
  5. Start ahead of time. I’m a major procrastinator, but next year I’m going to be figuring out my taxes in January. At least the parts I can do myself. That schedule C is supposed to be easy to figure out, but I want time to make mistakes and then fix them.
  6. Get help. I have a back up plan. If my taxes are too convoluted (and since I’ll be doing them ahead of time I’ll know long before the deadline) I’ll be asking some professional for help. In that case I’ll have a nice file of receipts downloaded from my drop box and my Quicken files to hand to her. Yippee!
That’s all I’ve got. But if you would like some additional help I am copying some links from my friend and fellow author Amy Atwell. Amy has started Author EMS a site for author’s seeking information (Check it out HERE) and while I didn’t get these links from there they are some that she posted on our goals loop:

http://www.forwrite rs.com/taxes. html
http://louisianalia r.com/business- of-writing/

http://curiosityqui lls.com/being- a-tax-wise- author-writer- part-one/

Best of luck with your taxes this year, and if you are in the USA you have two extra days this year WOOT!

Have you started your taxes? Do you get professional help? Have you started deducting your expenses as an author? Are you scared of the IRS?


Filed under Moonday mania, writing organization

Goals 2012

Moonday Mania

a blog on the craft of writing

I’m taking a page from my ROW 80 friends, Gloria Richard and Jenny Hansen and posting my goals for 2012. Just to let you know, unlike the ROW 80 peeps, I will not be checking in on Fridays and letting you know how I’m doing. Not because I don’t love you all, but mostly because I’m blogging enough for ten writers this year and I simply can’t add one more blog to the list. Instead, from time to time I’ll jump on and celebrate (or not) and let you know where I am.

So, this is the list of goals I sent out to my goal setting group, Writing Gaim, hosted by Amy Atwell. (I’m actually on the fifth goals setting group that Amy has set up, so you won’t see my goals on the site. But jump on over to Amy’s site and see all the cool things she has to offer.)

Jessica Aspen Goals for 2012
  1. Polish and submit TQH , (January) continue to submit as needed
  2. Polish and submit BW
  3. Outline and write  DW second novel in BW series-possible #BIAY
  4. Add BIAY page to my website and update monthly
  5. Polish and submit DW 
  6. Re-vamp novella-Rogue Enforcer, and publish
  7. Outline and write GB (new novella) (February)
  8. Polish and submit GB
  9. Start thinking about 3rd book in Enforcer series
  10. Outline and write sequal to TQH book (If TQH is accepted, this becomes a priority)
  11. Attend Rom con 2012 (already purchased ticket)
  12. Go to RWA Nationals in July
  13. Market all books (Little Red Riding Wolf focus for Jan and Feb)
  14. Keep up with personal site and improve it, blog 3 days a week
  15. Finish business plan
  16. Outline a YA and write for NANO (if not working at MP)
  17. Keep up with PNRF and improve site, blog once per month
  18. Take Bob Mayer class and keep up with it (Jan and Feb)
  19. Work at applying analytics and website knowledge to sites
  20. Write five days per week, 3 hours per day (actually I want to have butt in chair for 6 hours per day)
  21. Goal is 2k/day, expanding to 3k/day
  22. Or edit 15-20 pages per day
  23. Market 1-2 hours per day
  24. Increase presence on Goodreads and Google plus
  25. Think about possibly 2 other classes this year
  26. Figure out how to increase presence on reader sites/loops
  27. Work at improving plotting with the intent of speeding up actual writing by an extra 1,000k per day from current speed of 2k per day using Rachel Aaron‘s techniques
  28. Continue to set and review monthly goals, set daily goals based on monthly goals
  29. Explore self-publishing a short story
Okay, so it’s a huge list. And they aren’t SMART goals. Why? Because I like to dream big for the year. I like to look at everything I want to accomplish for the year when I plan what I’m going to do for the month. Now on my daily goals, I set goals using Margie Lawson‘s DSDB techniques. Winner and superstar goals that I can accomplish and check off and feel good about. But for the year, I want it all out there.
Maybe it won’t all get done, (okay, it’s not all getting done) but I believe if you don’t shoot for the top of the mountain you won’t get there. And I’m a top of the mountain kind of gal. Even when it hurts, and it’s gonna hurt.
I set a tremendous amount of goals for 2011, did I hit them all? NO.
But I did hit quite a few, and I feel good about it. If you are the kind of person who will feel bad if you don’t have bright red check marks next to all your goals, then set them SMART, and even SMARTER.
Letter Major Term Minor Terms
S Specific Significant, Stretching, Simple
M Measurable Meaningful, Motivational, Manageable
A Attainable Appropriate, Achievable, Agreed, Assignable, Actionable, Ambitious, Aligned, Aspirational
R Relevant Realistic, Resourced, Resonant
T Timely Time-oriented, Time framed, Timed, Time-based, Timeboxed, Time-bound, Time-Specific, Timetabled, Time limited, Trackable, Tangible
E Evaluate Ethical, Excitable, Enjoyable, Engaging, Ecological
R Reevaluate Rewarded, Reassess, Revisit, Recordable, Rewarding, Reaching
source: wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

For me, I’m shooting for the top, and setting them SMART along the way. That’s just me.

What kind of a goal setter are you? Do you set goals? What’s your process? Are you a SMART goal setter?

Don’t forget to enter my contest HERE, rules etc are on the contest page. And you can comment etc more than once (just once per day) so enter often! I’ve added Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Gift Certificates to the list, and yes, you can order online. Yumm!


Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania

Using a Goal Setting Group to Bring Success

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

If you’ve read any of my past posts, you may have noticed I’m a goals girl. I love taking out the paper and figuring out where I want to go and how to get there. Making sure I check those goal sheets, well… that doesn’t always happen. I can be racing along, in a hurry to get where I think I’m going, and totally forget to check the map.

That can end up with the end of the year check in being a big surprise and can go something like this:

“Wait.. I said I wanted to save money for a trip to Hawaii? But I spent it all on that writing conference. What happened?”

This year though I did something different. I joined a goal setting group last December. Writing Giam hosted by the amazing Amy Atwell. Not only does Amy supervise the entire Writing Gaim site, she jumps on to all the loops (I’m on loop number five, and I know there are more than that), and she also is starting a database for authors with helpful articles.

Writing Gaim has been a lifesaver for me. I’ve found that having a group to report to has made my goal setting much more focused. Every week I set my goals, and I’m actually staying on course! (Except for the Hawaii thing). This is one of the reasons Weight Watchers is so successful. Reporting back to a person or a group of people on your weekly endevours increases your chances of success. Checking in with my GaimX5rs loop on a regular basis is like looking the WW leader in the eye and confessing to eating a whole box of Little Debbies. Not going to happen.

When you know you have someone to report to, then you are much more likely to stay on track. And if you have a bad week, you are much more likely to get back on the wagon. This is particularly helpful if you are easily distracted (like me) by things like unwashed dishes or husbands or dogs.

You see those things (especially the husbands and dogs) notice if you don’t follow through. Who notices when you don’t follow through on your writing goals? Just you, you say? It might be time for a change.

Writing Gaim also has a Go-Pro loop, for those people who haven’t yet made it to PRO. I love this idea and if I’d known about it before I hit PRO, I would have jumped on it. PRO is great, but you can’t access any of it’s benefits till you finish and submit that first ms. And that can be a mountain of work. If you are interested in achieving this milestone, and are having trouble, a whole group focused on getting you there might be the answer.

The other great thing about my goal setting loop is all the wonderful author friends I’ve made. And I use the word author instead of writer on purpose. These people are all either publishing or on the road to publication. And it’s happening at a fast rate. Whether they’ve jumped off the romance boat to write memoirs or are self-publishing, they check in and show their progress. These are authors on the move.

How do you challenge your goal setting weaknesses? Do you have someone who keeps you accountable? Is it a group or a crit-partner? What if they don’t actually push you? Do you need to make a change?


Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, writing organization