Reader Friday: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

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What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Was it a software package, a writing course, the many books you’ve read? Please share your thoughts.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She also pens young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs.

31 thoughts on “Reader Friday: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

    • sue – just wanted to thank you for this shout out. Your enthusiasm for craft is infectious, and you’ve become a great “case study” in how it manifests when you go deep!”

  1. A one-on-one class with an instructor via Writer’s Digest University. There’s something about tearing apart a story with a real person who knows what they are doing.

    • Hi, would you mind sharing which one-on-one class at Writer’s Digest University? Thanks.

  2. A foundational writer’s conference I went to several years ago. It had good classes—one guy, Jack Cavanaugh, gave a nuts & bolts overview of writing the novel that has helped me to this day.

    While I’m not a believer in the necessity of repeatedly going to writers conferences (I think I’ve been to 2 in 15 years), it’s well worth it to go when you’re starting out, jam-cram your head full of all that material, take good notes, then come back and set yourself in motion. Best money I ever spent.

  3. Top 4 for me is:
    1) working is a professional editor -> I learn something new every time
    2) learning from my dear friend, best-selling author and writing teacher, Menna van Praag
    3) recent subscription: grammar and style check service Grammarly -> to strengthen my self-edits
    4) books by James Scott Bell, by Joanne Penn, Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott, Stephen King

  4. My best money spent was my membership dues to the Romance Writers of America that allowed me to join the local writers group in OK, the RWA Outlaws. I learned how to write from this active group with its generous established writers. I met many mentors & the writer who would eventually help me get published, Sharon Sala. Amazing group of nurturing women.

  5. Scrivener and I got it discounted after nanowrimo. It has saved countless trees since I don’t use index cards

  6. Prior to my writing career, I had a long professional career in which I was often asked for advice. I almost always said, “I can tell you what not to do.”

    It’s been a lot like that in writing so far: finding out what not to do, either from explicit blog advice (refreshing when you tread it) and money spent attending creative writing workshops and conferences, buying video programs on creative writing, all saying the same obvious things, buying “how to” books, all saying the same obvious things, and buying plugged and supposedly great thriller/crime/suspense novels that even I could tell were sloppily or poorly written to begin with, not well proofread or edited, obviously with parts rewritten and not dovetailed into, or made consistent with, the original story/plot. So time will tell how well I learned the lesson of what not to do, which might turn it into the best money I ever spent.

  7. Bouchercon in Washington DC. That’s where I met Genny Ostertag, and she bought my Dead-End Job mysteries. My 15th book was published this year. Bcon and Malice are the two conferences that work best for deals — I’ve met editors for short story anthologist, novels and even new agents.

  8. If computers had not been invented, and I had to continue writing, editing, and burning through typing paper with a Selectric typewriter, I would not be a full-time writer, today.

    So I guess my best writing purchase was my first computer, a clunky IBM desktop clone.

  9. I signed up for a Margie Lawson immersion class. The class itself is fine, but much more valuable was the relationships I made. All but one of the women in our group have stayed in touch on a daily basis, helping each other on our writing journeys. We even had a writing retreat last month to work on story structure together. By far the best money I ever spent!

  10. First, a rude awakening at a writers conference, and second, purchasing both Story Engineering and The Emotional Craft of Fiction. One led to the other…sigh

  11. Writers conferences. I started going to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in 2005, and have only missed one year so far. The contacts, information, encouragement, and creative energy from a conference can really improve my work. I met two of the best critique partners my 3rd year at Surrey. I’ve taken workshops from James Scott Bell, Donald Maass, Larry Brooks, Robert Dugoni, Janet Reid, and other great writers and publishing people there. I’ve attended sessions by Diana Gabaldon, Delilah S. Dawson, and other authors and industry people. I have learned a LOT. I’ve also attended Backspace (back when it was an in-person conference) and others. I always learn, I always meet new people, and I always, always find my enthusiasm increased after a conference.

  12. I’m not published yet, so all this might be a load of hooey.

    Number 3 – last November read Randy Ingermanson’s blog which led to
    Number 2 – purchases of all of James Scott Bell’s books on writing.
    Number 1 best purchase for helping my writing – Pro Writing Aid – which made me realize I know nothing about writing and I need to improve my craft.

    After 3 tries over 10 years, I finished a first draft of a book and I’m now editing.

    • AWESOME, Ken. You finished a book and you realize the importance of craft. You’re way ahead of the game. Good for you. Congratulations.

  13. I would have to say the 36 Foot RV has been my best writer’s investment. It is my summer home/office where I can get out of the city, into the quiet, and write. So far two novels and a novella have come out of those summer writing sessions in the Alaska wilds.

    My Office

    • You are incredible, Basil. What a great “office”!!!! I want to be YOU when I grow up. That truly is “best money ever spent.”

  14. I have a stack of books on the craft of writing and they represent the best money I’ve ever spent on doing what I love. Lots of folks are talking about Story Engineering, and it if I hadn’t purchased and read it several times myself, I’d think you were all just sucking up, but it really is a great book for obsessive compulsives like me. Don’t Murder Your Mystery, by Chris Roerden, is also fantastic.

  15. I’m going to say Scrivener and a second computer monitor for now. But after reading the above posts I’m going to get a copy of Story Engineering so my answer may change!

  16. The best money I’ve ever spent was for a year-long writing course with an excellent teacher/coach. Also, I’m a voracious reader-books and different authors assist in opening my mind to new ideas never thought of before. I also try to attend various writing workshops available in my area.

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