on one year of being a full-time author
As of October 2021, I had officially given up my day job. If you think being an author sounds super-glamorous, try being a B2B IT Service Manager for an energy company.
Seriously, though, I did like my job - a lot. The problem was that it didn't challenge me the way I needed it to anymore, and the general lacklustre morale at the company wasn't exactly a great motivator day-to-day. I liked my job a lot, until that point.
My writing career has always been secondary - to school, to university, to my 9-5 'normal' job. It was something I did on weekends and in the evenings, or used up precious annual leave for. When I first got my book deal at 17, it was a week after sending off my university applications to study Physics - a route I still wanted to pursue. When I graduated, I still wanted to get an office job. Not just because it was the sensible thing (income can be wildly unpredictable as an author) but for myself, too.
Last year, it felt like it was finally time for a change.
By then, I had a house; I'd moved back home to Wales, nearer family, and wasn't going into the office for work anyway. Work was a drag, and there were very few chances to get stuck into something new. On the book front, however, there was plenty to get stuck into.
Last summer I had a couple of books in the pipeline (primarily LOVE, LOCKED DOWN - currently on 99p on Kindle, for the record - and my upcoming adult rom-com, FAKING IT), as well as others I wanted to work on.
I was also, without any more covid lockdowns looming, kind of sick of not doing stuff. Covid had made me think: How many family holidays had I spent by the pool with my laptop, trying to make the most of time away from the office to catch up on writing? How many trips with friends had I missed out on because I was saving my annual leave in case another book event came up? How many opportunities in my authoring career had passed me by, because my 'regular' career needed to be prioritised?
It was time, I decided, to hand in my notice.
(Another major factor in deciding to pack in the day job was finances. I'd just bought a house, so there was no more saving up every book advance towards a deposit, and I could step back and get a clearer look at my finances to really understand if being a full-time author was a viable option. It was. Plus - I finally had that home office I'd been dreaming of for years. That was bound to guarantee a boost in productivity.)
This month marks a whole year as a full-time author, completely self-employed - and I've loved it.
Obviously, there are highlights like setting my own schedule (as a night owl who used to hit a horrible slump in the afternoons, this has been a big help) and the novelty of taking time off as I want or need to has definitely not worn off yet. Neither has the novelty of being able to sit down on any given day and write for nine or ten hours straight. I LOVE being able to do that. As a binge-writer, I procrastinate so much less now that I can write whenever I want to.
(And for the record: the home office has turned out to be a big help when it comes to being more productive.)
There were, of course, plenty of things I thought I'd do with my new-found time that I haven't done. Vlogs planned but never filmed, the cheesy Christmas movie script I toyed with as an idea but nothing more... But I have used the time in other ways, equally rewarding. To see friends. To go on holiday (sans laptop, for the first time ever! Can you believe it!?) and spend time with my family. Learning Italian. Working through my TBR pile that's been accumulating for years. Actually knitting that blanket I started working on, and trying out the slow cooker for the first time. Actually having last Christmas off, instead of squashing as much book-work into the holidays as I could.
And writing. So. Much. Writing.
In the last year, I published my novel LOVE, LOCKED DOWN, I've written the entire first draft of two books and edited two more. I got to go to LA for YALLWEST and spent the weekend at YALC, and took a mid-week trip to London to see my book on a billboard at Leicester Square. I started writing yet another new book, just last month. (I've also written a fair bit of fanfiction, but we're not counting that here.)
This is also the point where I plug my upcoming adult rom-com, FAKING IT, all about singleton Sophie and a year of engagement parties, housewarmings and weddings... and the very charming Harry, who she recruits from a dating app to be her fake-boyfriend for these events. It comes out next June, and pre-orders are a huge help! You can find it at Waterstones here, or on Amazon here.
Anyway. I told myself I'd check in at the one-year mark to see if this new chapter (ha) in my career was working out. If I had enough to keep me busy and motivated, if it was still financially viable - or sensible. If I was using all this time effectively, or wasting it. And while that check-in will be an ongoing thing, I'm so excited to have reached this little 'anniversary' of one year and be able to say that yes, it's working out.
So, for the foreseeable, I'll carry on as a full-time writer. I will try to film those vlogs and write that script, but I'll set myself new goals, too. And I'll definitely continue to enjoy the days spent writing non-stop, and the days relaxing with a book and taking a breather.
And who knows? Maybe I'll have some more publishing deals and pre-order links to share with you all soon. Fingers crossed, and watch this space.