Since reading the post, I’ve used Pomodoro a few times, working with uninterrupted concentration for twenty-five minutes stretches separated by five-minute breaks. It suits both my work style and the demands of my tiny wood stove, which requires frequent feeding on very cold days.
In fact, when I’m out in my studio, this little wood stove serves as an organic Pomodoro, allowing me thirty-to-forty minute spells of writing between short breaks to feed the fire and longer ones to split wood. But I’d set aside Sunday for preparing the taxes, a job for the dining room table inside the house, where the wood stove and passive-solar gain keep the room warm with less effort.
While we often discuss how to earn money from writing, we haven’t talked much about the tax consequences of doing so. Mostly, it’s a matter of good bookkeeping, both keeping track of income and proof of expenses. I’ve been doing this for years, and it does get easier, mostly because I’ve set up systems, including a separate bank account and credit card for my writing business, an established business in home, and a method to track expenses according to what the IRS asks for in a Schedule C.
Easier is not the same as fun, but if you earn income as a writer, you are obliged to report it and pay taxes accordingly. It’s better than not earning money in the first place.
To make the chore more palatable, I decided to bake bread, which would serve as the kind of organic timer similar to the studio woodstove and very much in keeping with the concept of the Pomodoro app.
I decided on bread because I’d said I’d bring bread to the friends’ who’d invited us over for dinner that night; I hadn’t expected the unintended, metaphorical, consequences – least of all the subject of a blog post.
Rather than use the bread machine, which we use for our every day loaf, I turned to my well-worn Tassajara Bread Book, and started a sponge. While it foamed, I set out all my files and answered the questions in the survey about economic events of the last year that our tax preparer sends. After adding flour and kneading the dough, Tim and I enjoyed Sunday brunch.
While the dough rested, I filled in the easy data: W-2’s, 1099’s, property taxes and the like. I discovered I need two numbers that I don’t have, so I scheduled time on Monday to make the phone calls to get them.
Fifty minutes later, I punched down the dough. While it rose a second time, I calculated how many miles I drove in 2015, how much money I spent keeping my car on the road, and how many of those miles and those expenses could be allocated to my writing practice. Then it was time to shape the dough into loaves.
While the loaves rose, I plucked the numbers for the Schedule C from my accounting software: IT, telephone, internet, office supplies and the like. I finished just as the loaves were ready to go in the oven. While the bread baked, I double checked my numbers and cleaned up.
And then I sat down to my reward: taxes ready for the accountant, and the reward of fresh, nourishing, warm bread.