Sunday, 3 June 2012

The reality of life as a writer

When people imagine the life of a writer they probably think that you sit under a shady tree on a hot summer’s day thinking about your wonderful purple prose and then go home and write a book in a week that tops the bestseller lists and goes onto earn you JK Rowling style riches.

But here’s the reality for most of us -

People will keep asking you when you will get a ‘proper job.’ This happened to me five minutes ago.

You may find yourself eating spaghetti with gravy for Christmas dinner with a duvet wrapped around yourself to keep warm, because you can’t afford to pay the electricity bill. This happened to me.

You will spend most of your time looking at your writing and seesawing between ‘this is brilliant’ and imagining who will play your brilliant characters in a movie (I want Kevin McKidd to play the suicide bomber Doyle in Deid Bastards), to ‘this sucks.’ Most of the time you will be thinking that it sucks. This is currently happening to me.

You’re partner/husband/wife may leave you because you don’t pay them any attention/won’t make dinner/fix that door/you didn’t pay that final demand and you may not notice for days because you’re too busy finishing that last chapter. This will eventually happen to me.

Your cat or dog may start to nibble on your toes because you haven’t fed him for a week and you may be too busy working on that last chapter to notice. I hope this doesn’t happen to me.  


  1. Don't forget the endless number of people who will come up to you and mention that they would love to be a writer if only "they had the time....." Like "time" is all it takes to be a writer. These are the same people who believe that if you lock ten monkeys in a room with a laptop, bananas, and energy drinks they could eventually bang out "War and Peace..."

    Great post!

  2. Yep, you pretty much summed it up, Jen! ;-)

    You'll come through your negative phase. We always do.

    Now go finish that last chapter!


  3. All sounds familiar to me, too - though I think I'd draw the line at spaghetti with gravy. Though on second thoughts... could be seriously yummy. Hmmm...

  4. Thanks, Kevin. I get that all the time too. Especially the 'I have a great idea for a book, maybe you can write it for me and we'll go 50/50.'
    Col, I think as writers we get too close to our work and can't be objective.
    Rosalie, that really was my Christmas dinner. Seriously, I was so skint at the time:)

  5. Ah, the joys of being a writer!


DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

One lost girl. A bus full of secrets -'My new WIP

One lost girl. A bus full of secrets - My new WIP #amwriting