Milestones – Cidney Swanson


I bought a dresser today. I know, I know: big deal. But here’s the thing. It kind of was a big deal. When my husband and I first married, we were both grad students and dirt poor. I brought a bedroom set into the marriage, and that was our only furniture for years. We made bookshelves from cinder blocks and pieces of 1×8 planks of wood because, really, bookshelves weren’t optional for us. We shuddered at the expense, which could have bought us a week’s worth of Mac-n-Cheese and hot dogs and Cheerios.

Before too long, we bought a “do it yourself” wooden table with a drawer which was big enough for both of us to use as a study desk if we sat kitty-corner. Then came a long stretch of no furniture until we had our first kid. Friends lent us a changing table and a crib, we were given a rocking chair, and my husband took a woodcraft class to make a futon couch for us. (I sewed the futon cushion. Yes, you can do that.) Why the futon couch? Well, now that we had a kid, people wanted to see us our kid. Oh, and we bought a chair at St Vinnie’s for $6 so I’d have somewhere to feed the kid. I guess our family members got tired of not having anywhere to sit, because we acquired assorted hand-me-down furniture from them.

But there was one thing we always found spare change for. Bookshelves.

We built our first (non cinder-block) pair between kid one and kid two. Rubbed it down with beeswax and used heater-vent sheeting for cool looking doors. Sweeeeeet, we thought. Then a couple more moves and we needed another bookshelf. And then another. And another couple. And then two more. The ratio of bookshelves to any other single piece of furniture in our home is really astounding. And we still don’t have enough.

See? Here’s proof: my writing desk as bookshelf.

So, today, after spending yesterday evening with some truly delightful writer buddies in Portland, I went to Ikea to buy myself some NEW furniture that wasn’t for shelving books. I’m just ridiculously happy with my new dresser. (Sorry, no pics–bedroom is even more of a disaster than my desk!)

I know a dresser’s not much, but I used WRITER INCOME to buy it! I’ve been working (writing) without a paycheck for twenty-five loooooong months. (Actually, I made about 12$ a month during the summer, and I just got my October royalty check of $43.)
November was maybe double that. But December was another creature altogether, peeps. I made over $600 from book sales! This month I don’t know what I’ll end up with, but I think it’s around $1000 so far. I wanted to celebrate, to mark the moment. I know bookshelves would seem like an ideal way to do that, and it was tempting!!! But the thought of buying myself a dresser felt so utterly frivolous, and after a bleak twenty-five months sans paycheck, I was ready to rock me some frivolity. What’s your fave piece of furniture? Does it have a story? Tell me for a chance to win your choice of one of my e-books!
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8 Replies to “Milestones”

  1. My favourite piece of furniture is actually the cinder-block and 2×4 bookshelf Scott built for us when we were first married. It's made it from SoCal to Buffalo to Virginia, and now has pride-of-place in our sitting room. He actually beveled the edges of the planks! That's as sophisticated as we get.

    I think if/when I start making money from my editing or writing, I will buy a sofa. We've never actually bought our own sofas; they're all hand-me down. Actually, come to think of it, ALL our furniture is, so I guess we're in the same boat!

    Congrats on your success! I'm glad your sales are so good, you certainly deserve it!


  2. Ally, aw, now I'm kind of sad we didn't hold on to our originals, too! We did recycle the shelves into a bookshelf for our kids, but I have no earthly idea where the cinder blocks ended up. A sofa would be a cool thing to buy, too, I have to say. One of ours, I don't think we could sell at a garage sale. At the end of the day for half price, even. Thx so much for swinging by, and keep persevering! (See my fiction pie post a few weeks back!)

  3. YAY! I'm SO HAPPY for you:) This is a great post. I'm so glad that Joe and I were a small part of such an EPIC day. May you have MANY more! [and I sort of want to see a pic of that dresser hee-hee I don't care how big a mess your room is]

  4. My favorite piece of furniture would be my bookshelf, but it doesn't have an interesting story, though I have loved it ever since my parents bought it for me. All my dreams and adventures are placed carefully in there.
    Congrats on your increasing book sales! I can see your year started out great. Imagine what the following months will bring 😀

  5. Mel, I love that yours is a bookshelf. Perfection! Very cool that your parents "got you" well enough to buy something you'd love and use.

    And yes, I'm quite excited about the next few months!

  6. I could go on and on about furniture because I believe strongly in building a beautiful, soothing nest from which to live, work, and rest, but what I really want to comment on, Cidney, is your dedication to craft. I am inspired by your ability to take your novel concepts from imagination to page and on to finished book available for sale. You deserve for that income to keep increasing as you show true commitment to your readers who love this story. What we give our attention to we give power to, after all. I wish you an abundance of amazing words to build your novels and prosperity in readership AND income. Thank you for sharing your writing journey with us!

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