Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


When you have a big dream that you’re trying to turn into reality, you need support. And support–the really effective, professional kind–often costs money.

It can cost a lot of money.

While you’re taking baby steps, wondering when or if all this hard work is going to pay off, it can be tempting to cut costs. Maybe you don’t need that Mont Blanc pen.

But when it comes to the things you do need, never be afraid to invest in yourself.

Here are the five best investments I’ve ever made for my career. I’m a writer, but this list can be tweaked to suit any business. (And I easily could have made this a list of ten.)

1) Travel. I love to travel for its own sake, but there’s something about a change of scenery that is incredibly inspiring. I’ve come away from my last three trips with solid ideas for novels.

2) Computer. For over thirteen years I plugged away on the same desktop computer, until it was so glutted with knowledge that it took over a minute to open a single page. The day I sprang for a MacBook Pro was the day that changed my professional life forever. The only thing I regret is that I waited so long.

3) Trek Desk. Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, you’ve heard how awful it is for your health to spend most of your day sitting on your ass. Well, I’ve yet to meet a writer who did her best work while skydiving. Of course we’re sitting down! Until now. The lovely trek desk lets me walk while I work. The learning curve was minuscule, and the results are already worth it. A few hundred dollars for more years on this planet? Priceless.

4) A life coach (or two). Are you self-destructive? Prone to procrastinate? Great at setting goals, but not so good at meeting them? A life coach can help. There are many different styles of life coaches out there, but you’ll know you’ve got a good one when she pinpoints what’s been holding you back and gives you suggestions on how you can work around it.

5) Conferences. I don’t go to many conferences–I stick with the very best. My experience with conferences has been invaluable–I’ve learned how to pitch my work with three well-honed sentences, I’ve made friends for life, and I’ve been able to escape the slush fund and place my submission at the top of the heap. Add in tons of workshops and panel discussions and editing sessions, and you have the most valuable weekend you’ll ever spend.

How are you investing in yourself?

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Rhonda Parrish

    I’ve looked at the Trek Desk and been tempted, but I these days I’m leaning toward just getting one that shifts from sitting to standing and back again. It’s far less expensive and since I’m not exactly rolling in cash from my writing less expensive is good LOL

    • Holli Moncrieff

      If you do get a trek desk, you’ll never regret it. I was put off by the cost too, but I love it. I feel so much better after I’ve done my walking for the day.

  2. Chrys Fey

    Sadly, I haven’t invested in myself. And trust me when I say I can’t afford it, but it would be terribly nice. The most investment I can do is writing, editing, and blogging. I would love to travel and get a laptop (I only have a desk top) but right now I am unable to. I hope that’ll change though. 🙂

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Chrys. I totally get that, and there’s been times I’ve had to save my change for a long while or do without a lot of other things in able to do this. That’s why I had the same computer for 13 years! In order to travel, I sell my belongings for way less than what they’re worth…or I try to get magazines to send me somewhere in return for writing about it.

      But it’s not all about money. The time you are spend writing and editing are investments too.

  3. Stephanie Faris

    What do you think of your treadmill desk? I thought I could just buy one to stick on my existing treadmill but I read somewhere you have to buy a special treadmill that can endure running at 1 mph for hours without the motor burning out?

    • Elle

      Hi, Stephanie. I bought both a treadmill and a desk back in January. You do not need a special treadmill. In fact, all the regular treadmills I looked at said that they could run indefinitely (as in forever) if you were using them at a low speed like 1 mph because the impact was so much less than if you were running on them.

      I really like my trek-desk. It’s great for doing stuff on the net, and for writing. I still have to sit down to figure out edits though. (Also – tax write-off!)

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks for commenting, Stephanie and Elle! Stephanie, I also love my Trek Desk. I too had heard that about the motor, but I think that might be a cash grab. I’ve only had it for just over a week with an existing treadmill, but so far, so good. I’ve used it every day and I love it. Best investment ever!

  4. Charity Bradford

    I wish you could convince my hubby of this! It’s so true and sometimes we have to invest in whatever way we can–even if it’s just investing time. Time to get out for a walk or run, time to visualize your dreams coming true, time to plan how you’re going to do it, time to write in spite of the 101 things your family needs you to do today.

    Great post!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Charity, and you’re right–time is also a great investment. I’ll be writing more about that tomorrow. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Donna B. McNicol

    I remember my first ever splurge on me…a leather briefcase. Next was a Mont Blanc pen. These were back in my professional career in IT.

    Now that I’m retired and writing I am splurging by attending the Writer’s Police Academy this fall and I am seriously considering a MacBook Air before the year is out (still vacillating between it and the Pro – I need portability with as little weight as possible).

    Donna B. McNicol
    A to Z Participant

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Whichever way you go, I predict you will love your Mac, Donna. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve made.

      What’s a Writer’s Police Academy? Sounds interesting.

      And please tell me true…are Mont Blanc pens really worth it?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.