A Glimpse into the World of a Full-Time Author by Jessica Redland

Exactly one month ago today (a Monday morning), I went into work looking forward to one day in then the rest of the week off to celebrate the launch of my debut novel, Searching for Steven. My manager had been on holiday the previous week so we had a catch-up meeting arranged. Except we didn’t “catch up”. I was made redundant instead! Eek! I hadn’t seen it coming at all.

_MG_4314-2Talk about an extreme week: Lose job on Monday, launch book on Wednesday! By the time Sunday came round and my friends and family launch party was over, I was absolutely drained.

I reluctantly went back into work the following week. I’d hoped that my employer would grant me gardening leave when I was first told about the redundancy but it was refused. A week’s absence must have helped get things into perspective because, when I got back, I was asked to finish a few things off and then granted gardening leave for the rest of June. This resulted in me having two weeks off, ending yesterday. Today sees my return into full-time work as a Recruitment Consultant at a local employment agency. I’ve been extremely fortunate in being able to walk out of one job and straight into another. Phew.

_MG_4959The fortnight off outside of school holidays has given me a glimpse into another world: the world of a full-time author and it’s going to be very strange letting it go. I’ve been able to keep on top of the goings on in the worlds of Facebook and Twitter (well, almost). I’ve been able to spend time – quality time – working on the structural edits for book 2, Getting Over Gary. I’ve been able to tidy my office … although I somehow managed to trash it again. Oops. And I’ve been able to do a few things with my daughter that I’ve not normally been able to do like the school run, taking her to swimming lessons, attending the summer fete, and watching sports day for the first time ever (she’s 8 so I’m feeling a little guilty about this one).

On Monday I took a long lunch break and finished a book I’d been reading and I was able to post my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads almost immediately. I needed to nip into town one day, so I did, and I had a bit of prep to do for a Brownies meeting (I’m a Brown Owl) another day, so I did that too.

It’s been a wonderful glimpse into the world of being an author, yet it’s also shown be that, the more time I have to write, the less time (proportionately) I spend writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly had a few days where I’ve really cracked on with it and put in a full day’s work, but I’ve also had a few days where social media, a little nap, and the temptation of DVDs have distracted me. But surely that’s one of the niceties about being a full-time author; working long hours when it’s deadline time and taking the foot of the pedal at other times? I like it. A lot.

11406714_884714794901155_6795003481857504518_oSo, from today, I’ll be back to the old routine of writing on an evening. One thing I’m looking forward to is having more time to read. I was a five-minute car journey away from my old job but I’m a ten-minute bus journey from this one. I know ten minutes doesn’t sound much but add in ten minutes waiting for the bus on the morning (I’m always paranoid I’ll miss it) and ten to twenty minutes waiting at the end of the day and I’ve suddenly got heading for an hour of reading in every weekday. Luxury. Knowing I only have two-three hours on an evening to write will probably force me to be much more structured with my time because it’s all I have and I’d only be causing myself problems if I wasted it.

I’m excited about the new role, but I will definitely miss the opportunity to write full-time on those days when the creative juices hit and my fingers are on fire because, let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen between 7.30-10.30 in the evening.

Do you write full-time or do you work full-time and squeeze writing in around it? Whichever you do, I’d love to hear from you as to how you get the balance right. Or perhaps you haven’t managed to get the balance yet and would like some tips. Just click on the comments next to the tags below.


Jessica xx


7 thoughts on “A Glimpse into the World of a Full-Time Author by Jessica Redland

  1. Firstly, Jessica, congratulations on the new job, and hope your first day goes swimmingly. Secondly, I can identify with what you say completely as when I retired from the day job, I thought, hey, I have all this time to write, but somehow other things take over, there’s a whole world out there and I want to enjoy the ‘retirement’ bits of my life too. So I write when I feel like it, but if I’m on a roll and want to get something finished, I will push myself and put in the hours. But I do feel I was a lot more focussed and disciplined when I had to fit writing in around the day job. If I decide to set certain hours aside for writing then I’ll be able to do that without too much trouble, but at the moment the more relaxed approach works for me!

    • I think it sounds like you have a lovely balance, Deirdre. I have to admit, I found myself thinking that if I ever was in a financial position where I could write full-time, I would aim to get more of a work life balance too and take some time out: read more, catch up for lunch with friends etc. You need that time to think about your writing in my opinion as it’s not like a day job that you can just solidly work on xx

  2. Congratulations on both the book launch and the new job! I think you are more disciplined than you realise and you achieve an awful lot by being so. Even when you talk about squeezing the reading in during that hour of travel time. I would get distracted by people watching at the bus stop and only manage about ten minutes a day of reading! I think you are right too that the more time you have the more tendency there is to procrastinate… Still, it would be nice to find out, wouldn’t it? I work for five employers, I’m studying for a Masters at the moment and have four children, so definitely fit writing in around that and it goes in peaks and troughs as a result. I’m lucky that I do work mainly from home, though, and more or less manage my own working hours, so I do have the flexibility that you lose when you have set hours of work xx

    • I remain absolutely in awe of you Jo! 26 children (thankfully only 1 is mine and the rest are Brownies), 2 jobs and writing are sufficient. No idea how you manage 5 jobs and a Masters. Still, they say if you want something doing, ask a busy person! I think we must be incredibly organised people! xx

  3. Congratulations on your new job…hope you really enjoy it 🙂
    It sounds as though you enjoyed your gardening leave … It’s certainly different being a full-time writer and the temptation to spend a lot more time on social media is always there.
    In 2003 I left my full time I.T. Position to write freelance for magazines and self-discipline is definitely something writers need and something that takes a bit of getting used to.
    Looking forward to seeing book 2 come out!
    Helen J Rolfe.

    • Thanks Helen. I did definitely enjoy it. I remember waking up at the start of week 2 and thinking I had a lovely whole week stretching out before me. Then it just disappeared! Bet you can’t believe 12 years have passed since you last worked full-time … and I bet you don’t miss it at all! xx

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