Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our readers spend their cash.
Today: a writer who makes $30,000
Occupation: romance novelist
Location: Youngsville, NC
Salary: $30,000 (approx. $1,154 per pay period)
When I moved to Youngsville nearly a decade ago, no one warned me about just how crucial my air conditioner could be. No one said there might be a day where your HVAC system can no longer control the humidity in your Youngsville, NC, home. For me, it turns out that day is today. By the time I realize the issue, though, it’s too late to call a technician today. I make a note to look further into the problem tomorrow, opening the windows in a poor attempt to compensate for the number on the thermostat. Today isn’t a complete wash, though—I do a bit of online shopping for things around the house and get about 5,000 words written in my next novel.
The humidity has definitely worsened, so I call an HVAC professional early to get some insight. As it turns out, they recommend that I opt for a new HVAC system entirely rather than trying to repair the existing HVAC. It’s all the same to me—technology isn’t my strong suit. Over the phone, they say something about compressors and ducts and refrigerants. Simply put, I’m glad the professionals are around to handle this for me. With the phone calls and humidity, today’s writing progress is limited to about 1,500 words. Still, some progress is better than none!
While the new HVAC system and ductwork are being installed, I figure I might as well get away for a few days. Luckily for me, cabins in North Carolina are easy to come by whether you’re looking to buy or rent. So I rent a two-bedroom cabin for tomorrow through Sunday and set to packing. At the very least, I should have some time to work on my book uninterrupted, meeting my deadline despite my publisher’s frustration with my slow pace. If nothing else, at least the cabin has air conditioning that works! And, by the time I get home, my AC should be back in action.
I pack my bags in the car, then grab groceries to last me through this DIY writing retreat. I’m no pro in the kitchen, but at least I can make sure I eat something good for me, more or less. Next, I stop by a gas station to fill up and get a coffee and snacks for the road. Then, I drive to the cabin. It takes some time to get settled and to make and eat something for dinner, so today’s a bit of a wash writing-wise. But that’s okay. Not every day will be an incredibly productive one, even if we’d want it to be.
Set up in the cabin, I’m beyond thrilled that my reservation is through the weekend. This is such a lovely place to be and undoubtedly a good fuel for my writing. I set myself up at the desk—another bonus—and get to work. Before I know it, I’ve finished another chapter, and it’s time for a bite to eat. I check in with the contractor before they leave for the day and remember to pay my utility bill before it’s too late. As much as I’m enjoying my temporary living space, I’ve got to make sure my actual home is kept in good shape, too.
Today is another productive writing day, with two and a half more chapters drafted and ready to be reviewed later. As it turns out, this cabin might be the best way for me to get the book done. I might have to seek out more long-term vacation rental options for the next one, too. If it wasn’t for the hassle I’m dealing with when it comes to my own home, I might even want to become a homeowner a second time. I also took a break to renew my subscription to the writing app I use for every one of my projects.
I wake up bummed that this will be my last day in the cabin, but I make the best of it with a writing sprint before packing up to leave. On my way, I stop by the gas station again to top off my tank, then I head home and unpack. Best of all, the heat and humidity are once again working correctly. So finally, with my luggage away, laundry running, and laptop plugged in, I’m set up for success when I sit back at the computer screen first thing tomorrow.
Total for the week: $827