In our house, I’m the one who gets us organized for tax time. After being in business for myself for so long now, it’s kind of a natural; I’m used to throwing receipts into a file and then sorting through them to come up with the numbers our accountant needs. I know I could stuff everything in a shoebox, thrust it at him, and say, “Here,” but I’m way too Type A; the thought of doing that is rather horrifying.

Tax prep is not something I’ve ever truly loved, but lately, I’m really starting to resent doing it. It started three years ago, I think, when having stop and do our taxes severely cut into studying for my master’s comprehensive exam. So that’s the thing. I know it has to be done. But these days it cuts into time I’d rather be writing. Last week and over the weekend, for example, I spent what felt like hours and hours sorting through receipts, going through files, and slowly but surely filling out the accountant’s worksheet. I did not get a lick of fiction writing or reading done those days, and I resented forsaking those for spending time on – ugh – this other stuff.

The good news is:  it’s over. Yesterday I took a lunch-hour meeting with our accountant and he had me out of there in an hour and fifteen minutes. And we’re getting money back this year. If I think of it as a writing or editing project for which I am being paid, considering my rates and the number of hours I put in, I actually made some pretty good dough. Now I can get back to revising my newest short story and reading Maggie Shipstead in the “Beauty” issue of Tin House.


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