It amazes me how many people have no clue about tracking their expenses.
I'm asked all the time if I keep receipts, how do I do my taxes, etc.
From my experience with the IRS (US), the more you keep track the better off you are especially if you're doing a tax filing showing yourself as a writer.
I track all my writing expenses: conferences, hotels, meals, etc., that includes car mileage.
There are various ways to track, and you can find various ways on the Internet or by asking people what they use.
But it is important to track your expenses before and after you've published.
I started claiming my writing expenses many, many years before I was published. Now, I will say, there were many things I could have tried to write off my taxes but chose not to. This was my choice. I wrote off dues to organizations, conferences, hotel expenses while at conference, meals, etc.
Now, you don't have to claim your writing expenses before your published with the IRS. But it is important to tack them, because it will give you an idea of how much money you are spending. And when you do become published, you'll already have a good tracking system in place.
There are expenses I never thought about and year after year I keep track and see what I'm spending my writing income on.
I track both incoming and outgoing income, I do this by spreadsheets. It's not hard and as long as you keep it up, so it's not time consuming.
You are going to have expenses as a writer so it's important to track them.
Next week: Know what your publisher does for you