So You Want To Be A Full-Time Writer… Or Do You?

The grass is always greener in the other fella’s lunchbox. At least, that’s what small Irish children are taught when they turn six and a half.

For writers with day jobs, this means dreams of a utopian idyll where they get up to the sound of birds in the morning and slink into mahogany studies in endangered silk dressing gowns with cups of Ethiopian coffee strained through a goat, to find literary genius pouring out of them like slush from a spigot the very moment their arses hit the chair.

For full-time writers, this can mean dreams of popping down to the shop for a tin of beans, inserting one’s bank card into the point-of-sale unit and not chewing one’s fingernails in a blind panic whilst approval is pending. Or of having boring office jobs which don’t follow them home at the end of the day and beat them over the head with self-loathing and inadequacy.

I was struck recently by a post on social media by an author I admire very much, announcing that she was about to jump off the diving board of a salaried, permanent job, into the misty pools of full-time writing. What would make someone do that, I thought? And what’s it like?

I toyed with the idea of making up yet another dubiously researched blog post on the subject, and then hit upon the radical notion of asking the person who actually knew something about it. (I know what you’re thinking. But don’t get too comfortable. I’m not going to make a habit of it.)

What follows is the kindly response from Liz Nugent: newly full-time author of aforementioned social media post, not to mention Unravelling Oliver,  Irish Crime Novel of the Year in 2014, and Lying In Wait,  coming from Penguin in July.

So You Want To Be A Full-Time Writer... Or Do You?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Unlike me, Liz is a lovely person, so you can actually believe what she says. She also has a habit of writing some of the best first lines around. Look her up, you’ll see what I mean.


  1. What made you decide to quit your job in order to write full-time?

Every day that I was there felt like a day wasted, like a day when I should be writing. The work I was doing was a little mundane and although I had great colleagues, I really thought I was going to go insane if I stayed. Also, when I handed in my notice, I had applied for three separate bursaries and I thought I had a good chance of getting at least one of them. As it happened, I didn’t get any of them. Whoops.

  1. Did you find your job prevented or stifled you from full productivity or creativity? How so?

I know it did. I wrote Unravelling Oliver  while working full-time but it took me eight years because I was only getting to work on it for a week here and there on my holidays. When I took a two year leave of absence in 2013, I wrote Lying in Wait  in eighteen months. That proved to me that I could definitely do it as long as I had the time. You really have to treat writing like a job. Damn it, it is a job.

  1. Have you written full-time before? If so, how does this time differ from the last?

Yes, during the leave of absence I took before, I wrote Lying in Wait  knowing that I had the safety net of a full time job to return to. Now I have taken away the safety net, so it’s sink or swim. Strangely, or maybe stupidly, I have no fear about this. Yet.

  1. Did your expectations of full-time writing differ from the reality? How so?

I think I thought I’d be more disciplined than I was. I still really have to force myself to sit down at the laptop and get to work. I am the queen of procrastination. My bathroom is sparkling as a result.

  1. What do you consider to be the worst thing about writing full-time? What’s the best thing?

The worst thing is not having colleagues. But women writers are really very good at keeping in touch and supporting each other, so I am not completely isolated. The best thing is that I no longer have to wake to the tyranny of an alarm clock.

  1. Did you have certain writing projects in mind before taking the plunge? If so, were any of them contractual or commissioned?

I have to plot my third novel. I wrote the first chapter before Christmas but haven’t touched it since. I have no contract for it yet but my agent expects that I will get an offer. There are several other things that I have been asked to do, a short film, children’s stories etc but none of them are earners so for the time being, I have to say no. I’m really bad at saying no but I have had to become a little more mercenary. I used to do a lot of dramaturgy work for friends for free. But it takes up a lot of time. I can no longer afford to read, evaluate and give detailed analysis on somebody else’s script without a fee.

  1. Do you go to literary festivals or other promotional appearances? Did these obligations have any influence on your decision to write full-time?

Yes, I have quite a few coming up – an appearance in the Lincoln Centre Library in New York next week, then Dalkey Book Festival, Hay Festival at Kells, West Cork Lit Fest – and I’m curating the lit strand of Skibbereen Arts Fest. Preparation for these is time consuming because I think it is manners to read the books of people you are sharing a panel with and I have to do a lot of research on writers I’ll be interviewing so that was another factor in the decision to resign from the job.

  1. Are you concerned about how you’ll fare economically without your day job? Does it create pressure on you to earn a certain amount from your writing, or is the money aspect currently not that relevant to your long-term plan?

I wish the money aspect didn’t matter but of course the mortgage must be paid and there needs to be food on the table. I don’t have immediate concerns but I’m hoping a few TV projects will come to fruition in the next year or two. I don’t really expect that I’ll be earning more than I did in my day job, but I’ll be doing what I want to do, on my own clock.

  1. What do you miss most about a day job when you’re writing full-time?

Work mates. Office gossip. Discussions about last night’s telly drama or the migrant crisis or the best shampoo.

  1. What is your optimal outcome now as a full-time writer, and how do you feel going full-time will change how you get there?

I want to write more, better faster while maintaining a decent standard of living. Also, somewhere down the line, I really want to write a play. Once the publicity drive for Lying in Wait  is over, I’ll be able to see the wood for the trees and see how I can pace myself to do all these things.


So You Want To Be A Full-Time Writer... Or Do You?

Liz Nugent is an award-winning writer of radio and TV drama and has written short stories for children and adults.

In early 2014 her first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was published by Penguin Random House.  It went straight to the top of the bestsellers list and has been translated into eight languages. In November 2014, Unravelling Oliver won the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards.

The television rights to Unravelling Oliver have recently been acquired by ITV Drama. Liz was the winner of the inaugural Jack Harte Bursary from the Irish Writer’s Centre and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Unravelling Oliver was also longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award (formerly the IMPAC).

Her second novel, Lying in Wait, will be published by Penguin in July 2016.


Liz is currently doing full-time writery things in New York, so if you have any questions, I will make sure to pass them on when stalking her later. Sorry – did I just say that out loud? Let’s talk about you. Do you have a romantic idea of another kind of writing life? If so, do tell.

  89 comments for “So You Want To Be A Full-Time Writer… Or Do You?

  1. Jack Tyler
    May 30, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Agreed. I just went full-time (actually, I retired), and had visions of spending every morning either at the keyboard, or with my story notes spread out on that mahogany desk. Most mornings I am doing those things, but the level of discipline it requires is astonishing. Yes, I do miss the coworkers, though I have remained friends with many of them, and I’ve found that I do have a lot of male writing contacts, though when you write in a tight little niche like steampunk, you get to know everyone pretty quickly. Amazed at how familiar your friend’s experience sounds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 10:38 am

      I’d say the internet has been the saviour of many a writer, Jack, even those such as live in and around Dublin and who get to meet up regularly in person. I think it would be fantastic to retire with the prospect of a whole new writing career. I can’t wait for that myself though, not least because it’ll take me another 20 years of paying into a pension in order to be able to afford it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. carousel1234
    May 30, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Liz I totally admire your bravery and am jealous of your ability to grab the bull by the horns.
    Tara I love this slight deviation from your usual blogging to drag other unsuspecting authors into your spider’s web! Your description of the writers’ life had me laughing before breakfast.

    Liked by 4 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Better than laughing during breakfast, I suppose, Carolann. Nobody likes a mess….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. May 30, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I took early retirement after trying to work and have thyroid cancer at the same time. My wish-it-was-mahogany-but-it’s-not desk waits for me every morning after a meander along country lanes and babbling brooks. I am selling books, and every day is a bonus!

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 10:56 am

      I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties Stevie but delighted it all worked out so well in the end. You’d better throw in some fake misery, though, or the other writers will be jealous 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

        It’s miserable not having to go out to work in the winter in the ice and snow!

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 30, 2016 at 11:23 am

          Nice try. But any more of that, and I’m going to write a very long paragraph of what happened the day I forgot was payday and ended up buying two pairs of shoes.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. May 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I still want to be a full time writer, but I started a full time job last week so I’m currently heading in the opposite direction. But having a full time job means I now have the money for all those essentials like editors, editors and editors, and paying for paperbacks that can be handed out, and buying autographed Flying Vs for competiton giveaways and BMW Z4s for publicity photos that make me look like an arse and banners to hang off motorway bridges. . . . I could go on.

    When I had the time to write I had no money, now I’ve got money but no time.

    Liked by 4 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Well, a new job is still grounds for celebration. Congrats! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

      I was just saying to someone this weekend, Chris, that there are 3 things I would need to do in order to successfully self-publish, but it’s only possible to do 2 of them at a time. I can have a full-time job and write, or I can write and market my books, but I can’t have a full-time job and write and market my books. Until my impending lottery win, the full-time job is going to win every time. Congratulations on your new one!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. May 30, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Brilliant! Plus, a spotless bathroom. Who can ask for more?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. May 30, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Yeah, the spotless bathroom caught my eye too. I wonder would that spread to spotless everything – not including pages, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 30, 2016 at 11:26 am

      In my case it does, Jean. Or at least, scrupulous tidiness. There isn’t a table mat out of alignment when I’ve writing to do.


  7. May 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Incredibly brave. The thought of kicking the earning to follow my dream appears as a nightmare. Or, have I goth this the wrong way around?

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      You have, Conor, both ways. You should be earning the dream to follow the kicks, no?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. May 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    You mean to say being a full time writer is not like Charlotte Rampling’s character in The Swimming Pool?

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Well, my guess would be no, Kathy. Not unless you’re either Charlotte Rampling, or a fictional character written by writers who would like to write full-time…


  9. May 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Liz sounds lovely; I need to seek out her books, and I find it interesting to hear what her experience is and has been as a writer. Making that leap, not just in spirit but in fact, really is a leap of faith and it sounds like she was beautifully poised to make it, both mentally/creatively, and in terms of how her business is set up. I wish her oodles of good luck… and, of course, a clean bathroom is lovely. 🙂

    The big difference from my point of view is how a writer is set up. Having a team that offers some form of collaborative help is a big boost to the notion of leaping: agents seeking contracts for in-the-midst-of-being-written novel, people to set up festivals and appearances; supportive folks in offices somewhere looking out for one’s commercial opportunities. When you’ve got a team, leaping makes sense, feels more hopeful.

    When you’re an independent writer, you’re in the process of leaping pretty much every minute of the day…and without a team to throw out the net.

    And while it IS lovely to have total control over every aspect of your work — your books, your edit, your end product — damn, if it isn’t lonely! And not just in the “writing is isolation” sense, but in the sense that you are alone in the mercurial and unpredictable task of making-a-living AND you have no idea if this book you’re devoting your life to will ever get much beyond the gates, which, in the world of independent publishing, happens more often than one would like.

    So I applaud Liz’s decision. I also applaud your commenter above, The Opening Sentence. He/she illustrates the conundrum for the other side, so I wish him/her well. Sometimes being able to pay your rent and afford some marketing goes a long way toward calming the mind enough to write.

    Good discussion, as always, Miz Sparling. It’s an eclectic world out there!

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      It sure is, Lorraine, isn’t it? And do check out Liz’s books. I think you’d like them. I hear you on the Team Author thing. I suppose the problem is that for some authors with teams behind them, they can sometimes feel like it’s working against them rather than with them. Which is why in my benevolent dictatorship, nobody will be allowed an opinion, and everyone will be happier. Fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        I do understand that, Tara, and so far I’ve been my own dictator too, and there are elements of that I wouldn’t give up for the world. But this marketing and promotion thing is a BEAST when you’re on your own, and that’s a code I haven’t been able crack all that successfully myself. I’ve wondered if getting help on that end is worth the trade-off. I don’t know… I’d be willing to experiment at this point! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 30, 2016 at 8:41 pm

          I know what you mean, Lorraine, but small presses have the same problems too. I think there are barriers to indie authors such as ineligibility for awards etc which need looking at so that the playing field is levelled, but at the end of the day, there are traditionally published authors with zero budget writing their own blurbs, scrambling for their own reviews and getting no exposure because they don’t know the right people. It’s David Vs Goliath really, isn’t it?

          Liked by 1 person

          • May 30, 2016 at 11:43 pm

            Yeah… it is. I hear stuff like that too. It seems there are challenges on both sides of the publishing dIvide. I get exhausted just thinking about it all. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  10. May 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    This was an interesting read, Tara, and I find it interesting that Liz’s books are so successful yet she is still worried that she doesn’t have the ‘safety net’ of a salaried job. It perhaps illustrates that you can be an award winning author with a TV deal and yet still not make quite enough to get by – which is a sad statement on the publishing industry.

    At the moment I’m writing pretty much full time (mostly unpaid) but am thinking of making the leap into a part time job simply to have the security of a regular paycheck, rather than chasing freelance clients for payment and/or more work. That way, I hope I can then just focus on my own writing, even though I’ll have less time to devote to it. I know I’m fortunate to be in a situation where I can make this choice – my child is still young enough to need me around, hence the part time hours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jack Tyler
      May 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Hello, Helen. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Just to offer my twopence, I don’t think it’s so much that Liz’s current projects didn’t pay enough for what they were (and she didn’t discuss the specifics of that particular aspect), as that, as a writer, you’re going to invest the next year or more of your life in a project that you certainly love, but with no guarantee that you’ll EVER be paid for it. At least if you’re a janitor or a ditch-digger, you know that Friday is payday. A writer has no such security, and that has to be pretty unnerving.

      Liked by 3 people

      • May 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm

        Hello Jack, lovely to make your acquaintance as well, and I agree with your excellent point. It is a long time to work with no guaranteed pay-off, definitely, and I can imagine it would be quite scary to step away from the security of regular pay – I definitely didn’t mean to underplay her nervousness, or suggest it wasn’t valid. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • May 30, 2016 at 8:51 pm

          I wouldn’t presume to speak for Liz, but I know what you mean, Helen. I think the reason Liz’s interview is striking such a chord with people is because despite the fact that she’s won major awards and been nominated for others, and despite the fact that a TV option was floating about, she’s still in the same boat as any other author without a book contract, and taking the plunge anyway. Until I talked to her I thought that anyone with her pedigree would have a guaranteed future. You do learn something new every day!

          Liked by 2 people

          • May 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm

            Yes, that’s what I was trying to say (though not as eloquently as you). Despite the fact she’s received accolades that many writers can only dream of, she’s still in the same boat. Well done to her for taking the plunge, I hope it goes really well 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  11. May 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve worked full time and written, part-time and written and written full time. When I wasn’t writing full time I imagined it as some sort of panacea but existing for long periods alone in imagined worlds (fiction) can be, to put it mildly, an odd way to carry on. So it’s a good idea to have certain balancing measures in place if you don’t want to go completely nuts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 30, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      I reckon I’d be one of those to go nuts, Vicky. Now, I like nuts, but only in small portions, and at times of my choosing.


  12. May 30, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Did anyone else read and re-read the fact that Liz Nugent applied for bursaries and didn’t get them? Given the quality and success of Unravelling Oliver I’d say there’s someone out there kicking themselves! As for the ‘Grass is always greener’ thing?Writing is probably the ultimate example of this. I saw a post recently from one of the biggest female romance authors out there(very ironically I can’t remember which one!) who said that because of issues with her previous publishers she gets royalties of less that a hundred euro for a back collection of over ten books that are regularly in the bestsellers lists even now, years after she wrote them, although it was more meant to be an example of ‘without an agent you can be royally you-know-whatted!’

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 30, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      Yeah. Utterly mental, isn’t it Bernadette?! I was thinking about this sort of lark recently when Prince died. Everyone thought he was stark raving bonkers when he changed his name in the 90s during the battle to win back his master recordings, but what’s really bonkers is that no author has made the headlines for doing the same thing. Except I wouldn’t suggest changing one’s name to a symbol. That’s just bonkers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 31, 2016 at 8:23 am

        Was unfortunate that people called him simply ‘squiggle’ considering his genius alright;) (RIP):(

        Liked by 1 person

  13. May 30, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    A great interview Tara. I’ve so much in common with Liz… sadly not her gift for writing but her slow progress.
    It’s fascinating to see she is not in the midst of a 20 book deal with her CV, but I think with her talent and seeing how busy she is now with writing she’s done the right thing. I’ve little doubt she’ll make a real go of it. I wish her well.
    (Lovely to meet you in the flesh the other day too btw)

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 30, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      I have no doubt she’s doing the right thing either, Tric. I can’t wait to see her career on the rise. My bet is that it won’t be slow from here on in. It was lovely to meet you too! Sorry I took all the biscuits…


      • May 30, 2016 at 10:25 pm

        I’ve a long memory. Starving I was.

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 30, 2016 at 10:27 pm

          I wasn’t to know Wexford was in the grip of a biscuit shortage. If only someone had imported them from Cork.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. May 31, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Tara, were you at Focail the other day by the by (if you were I will go bang my head off a wall so watch your answer;))

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 31, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Er…. I was in fact. You weren’t there too, were you?? Multiple head banging will ensue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 31, 2016 at 4:08 pm

        That’s a lot of head banging,and probably pointless head banging, given it’s after the fact so maybe we cancel each other out and don’t?! I thought I saw you next to Catherine Ryan Howard (I don’t know her, am name dropping but am a huge huge fan of hers too) but I think you get used to people’s online profile pictures and also assume you’re seeing things;);) Such a pity, still a great great weekend though!

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 31, 2016 at 4:29 pm

          I was certainly right up close to Catherine at one point. (I talked her out of a restraining order, it’s fine.) I cannot BELIEVE you were in the same room! Ridiculous. Next year, name badges.

          Liked by 1 person

          • May 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm

            That’s the only way, I don’t think it’s feasible for us to walk around looking the exact same as our gravatar pics, I mean how do I look around me and what if there’s someone to your left?! I’d say a good people did the same as you with Catherine Ryan Howard- a room full of bloggers and aspiring writers? That’s just asking for a mass zombie following scenario!

            Liked by 1 person

            • May 31, 2016 at 4:59 pm

              I would have missed Tric Kearney too, only someone called her by her name at the tea table and I made a guess. I did know a lot of people from before (poor Catherine included), but unless people live in Dublin and pop up at book launches all the time it’s hard to meet them, which makes Wexford a doubly wasted opportunity!


  15. May 31, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Thank you to Tara and Liz for a great post. This issue has PLAGUED me throughout my life, I’ve found it well nigh impossible to balance the two and applaud Liz’s frankness. Her time schedule for “Oliver” vs “Lying in Wait” really says it all.

    Now I am in the same situation – through circumstance rather than choice but am not fighting it too hard 🙂 – and it’s a pleasure to actually get a first draft finished and move on to another piece all within the last few months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      And I can’t wait to read the fruits of that change, Susan. Sometimes the strangest things happen for the better, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. May 31, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    That sounds scary. Tara. But then Liz started her novel-writing career with a best seller. That sets a rather solid foundation and speaks to some fabulous talent. I write full time, but I have the luxury of a working spouse and didn’t start until the kids were done with college. By the way, I woke to the sound of birds this morning and slinked into my pine bedroom in flannel pjs with a cup of Hawaiian coffee made with my neighbor’s goat’s milk. 🙂 Had to laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 31, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      I know she might have started with a bestseller, Diana, but that serves to show how tough it is out there for everyone, bestsellers included! Your morning sounds very pleasant indeed. I don’t hold a grudge. I hope your neighbour’s goat doesn’t either.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. May 31, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I would think taking the plunge into full-time writing depends on the circumstances. If there is a best seller under the belt, if aunt Minnie left a generous inheritance, if hubbie supports the endeavors, or if the person has mad skills they can pick back up if the next book doesn’t perform. Sometimes, working without a net let’s a writer catch on fire. Then, there’s Hugh Howey who works from his catamaran. The sunsets he sees!

    Why would you want to miss that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Sheron, unless I couldn’t have it, in which case Hugh Howey makes me sick and should be outlawed immediately 😉


  18. May 31, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Okay. I’ll grab the handcuffs.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. June 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Reblogged this on MorgEn Bailey's Creative Writing Blog and commented:
    An insightful interview… how often is a full-time writer really a FULL-TIME writer? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. June 1, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Great interview! I relate so much to everything Liz says, from feeling like you’re wasting time in the day job, to taking the leap, which I will be doing myself very shortly. I want to be a full-time writer. It’s what I’ve always wanted, and I’m very excited about finally getting to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Congratulations, Clodagh, and the very best of luck to you – I hope it’s a massive success. You’ll have to let us know how it goes!


  21. June 1, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Best of luck, Liz. Have heard only brilliant things about Unravelling Oliver. You’ve spurred me on to finally get round to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 at 11:52 am

      You know, I told Liz that appearing on an obscure and mildly offensive blog would result in untold riches and fame, and she looked like she didn’t believe me. I’ll pay you later, Tenderlation. (P.S. I just got an e-mail telling me you’d followed my blog. What the hell were you doing before now?!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

        I’ve an oversensitive keyboard. It’s secondhand, obviously middle-aged with a few unsteady parts of machinery. A bit like meself.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. June 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    It was very interesting to read Liz’s comments about why she quit her job and became a full-time writer. Although it would be a big step for anybody, I think the fact that she was already a published author with something of a track record of success must have given her confidence that she could make a go of it. It presumably takes massive amounts of time and effort before someone can get near that point. I admire her for it and wish her every success in her writing career.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      I’d need that confidence myself, Bun. I wouldn’t see the point of taking the leap without it. Reminds me of the time I entered the French Open without ever having even owned a tennis racket. Taught me a lot I can tell you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 2, 2016 at 8:25 am

        That problem with the tennis tournament sounds a bit embarrassing, Tara, but at least your dreams weren’t squashed.

        Anyway, as I mentioned, I’m full of admiration for her, but it would take me a lot to ever give up my job like that, much as I’d love to.


  23. Carrie Beckort
    June 1, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    I left my comfortable (and well paying) full-time job 3 years ago. It started out as a 2-year leave, but I made the decision to not go back. The difference for me is that I left for personal reasons. I wanted to focus on my health and my family. I started writing, at the recommendation of a friend, to keep myself occupied while my daughter was in school. I began writing my first novel while I was still working to see if it was something I would enjoy doing (or be any good at). I loved it (and I seem to be at least OK at it) and so I decided to use the 2-year leave to determine if it was something I wanted to jump into all the way. Since my initial reasons for leaving my full-time job did not stem from the desire to write full-time, my anxieties were a bit different. However, I can relate to much of what Liz talks about here. It was difficult to go from a demanding job with direct reports and deadlines to no co-workers or boss and my own schedule. One of the things I miss most is having others to bounce ideas off of. I have been building up my writer network, and that’s helped. Also, the focus of my full-time job was making our company’s processes more efficient. Writing is one of the most inefficient processes I have ever come across! Creativity needs to come at its own pace, and that’s been difficult for me to accept 🙂 It’s still a challenge to find a way to keep myself motivated every day, but I love it. Here’s to hoping the hubby agrees I can keep this gig going for several more years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      Here’s hoping, Carrie! It certainly sounds like a hugely positive experience so far. Not least that writers are (to a certain extent, leaving out the publishing side obviously) our own bosses. Having said that, I fear the day when I’m my own boss. I’m going to be horrible to work for. 😉


  24. June 3, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    You couldn’t have chosen a better day to post this, Tara. Monday, May 30th was the first day of my life as a full time writer. I closed my salon the previous Friday after a year of deliberating on it. I’ve managed to write more this week than ever – hopefully, the novelty will not wear off and I’ve been even more disciplined about keeping to a good daily routine. I’ll keep in mind the ‘tin of beans’ you mentioned – just in case. 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 8, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Jean, massive apologies – somehow your comments ended up in my spam folder. Philistines! I hope you don’t think it was me that did it. But hearty congratulations on your big move – I wish you the very best of luck. And you can always come to me to borrow a tin of beans if you’re stuck. Borrow, mind, not take for good. I’m not made of money. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  25. June 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Brilliant post. As enticing as that dream of a mahogany desk and silk robes is, I can’t see me ever going full-time with my writing. I like getting out of the house for a bit – it’s a change of scenery and I can talk to someone other than the dog. I did go from full-time employment to part-time to concentrate on writing though, and that really has been brilliant for me. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 5, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      I’m on the same wavelength as you, I reckon. The part-time gig sounds brilliant! I think many of us would take your recommendation given the chance. Delighted it’s working out for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. June 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Very enlightening post, Tara. For the moment, having to steal time to write means that I never get writer’s block, so I’m content. But who knows what the future holds?

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Who knows indeed? It’s taking the leap without knowing which freaks most of us out! Thanks, M.L.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. June 5, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Routine Matters.


  28. June 9, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Hello Tara! I’ve nominated your blog for ‘One Lovely Blog Award’.

    I absolutely love your sincere writing! 🙂


    • June 12, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you chaupathni! Think I can safely say this is the first time anyone’s called my writing ‘sincere’ though 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  29. June 16, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Sometimes I do think about a full-time writing career, and I’m not sure I’d like it. Probably becuase I’m not sure I’d be good enough to organise my day so to be productive. I work much better on a deadline, so having a limited time to dedicate to writing makes me a better writer (I think).

    And then, I have to say I really love my job. I’m a part-time bookseller, in a bookshop connected to a publisher. The company is a small one (man and wife, with very few employees) and it’s really like a family. Yes, I know I’m lucky 😉
    If my job were certain (there’s no certainty in the publishing industry, not even for publishers) and I didn’t have to sped nearly three hours every day journey to and from work, I’d say this would be an ideal position for me.

    I was suprised, as well as others, that in spite of her impressive curriculum, Liz is still worried for her future. But then, who isn’t today, whatever industry they work in? I think this is always the case when you rely on people’s reaction for you living. You can never be sure what that reaction will be, not even when you are a bestselling author. So I suppose, if you work in any creative field, you have to cope with that uncertainty all your life.


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