I haven’t worked for anyone else for many years and for many reasons. Firstly there was the birth of my son and I chose to be a stay at home mum - I was also fortunate enough to be able to do this because my husband was in well paid full-time employment.
Once my son started school, and it became clear that the stork had no further deliveries for us, I knew I had to find more to do with my life. I re-trained as an adult literacy tutor and spent five happy years meeting some inspirational people who, in many ways, taught me far more than I taught them. The main reason I stopped was because of the crappy funding in our borough, which constantly closed down classes until I never knew if my course was actually running or not.
But, as John Lennon so poignantly said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’.
I stopped teaching at just about the time my family commitments went up a notch. No, not another baby but ‘stuff’ that meant I needed to be around just a little bit more - I won’t go into detail but between my mum and my son they kept me busy with ‘issues’ for quite a while and, in many ways, continue to do so.
As most of you will already know, my son’s problem was school phobia. Had I been employed at the time, I wouldn’t have been able to carry on working. I needed to be there to sort out this massive problem that had come from nowhere. He now looks back and (thankfully) laughs. He can’t understand, or put into words, the feelings that he had - but it resulted in me spending three years AT SCHOOL WITH HIM.
I look back over the years from 2006 until 2009 and often wonder how I got through them. I guess the answer is, I had no choice - you deal with what life throws at you and I firmly believe that I turned (and continue to turn) a negative into a positive. Because I didn’t sit in my car at the school and mope my days away - I read, read and read and then I wrote, wrote and wrote until ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ was born. Not one minute of my time was wasted - I was honing my craft. In many ways, it was heaven - no distractions, no excuses, just writing and peace.
So from that rather odd start on my career path, and with some on-going commitments (my mum), I now find myself a full-time writer.
I’m not dabbling at this. Not just sticking a toe in the water. I live, breathe, eat and sleep writing. When I’m not writing or promoting or tweeting or blogging or doing interviews, I may look like a ‘normal’ woman going through life but inside I’m writing that next scene, constructing that next dialogue.
So probably best not to say to me, ‘You choose not to work.’
Not really the wisest move, eh?
Because, trust me, I’ve had people say that and it doesn’t sit well with me.
There are many reasons why I can’t take on a ‘paid job’ right now - a job where I have to be there from 9-5 regardless - and the people who say I ‘choose not to work’ should be well aware of those reasons. Sadly, they’re not.
So, as someone who ‘doesn’t work’, let me take you through a typical day and see if you fancy ‘dossing’ as much as I do to earn approximately a quid a book.
GET UP: Do all the usual checks. Book sales (not a best seller yet), reviews (phew, no crap ones yet), email (no TV deals yet), Blog (great night for hits, no weirdos leaving comments), Twitter (lovely friends leaving positive comments and willing me to carry on) and DM’s (thoughts and ideas from Twitter friends).
COFFEE - work my way through any interviews or guest blogs I need to get done.
MORE COFFEE - Look through yesterday’s chapter, make changes and re-acquaint myself with my path.
CONTEMPLATE MORE COFFEE BUT HAVE WATER - to write or to promote? My new novel is calling me but I need to be looking at ways of marketing my other three babies. Search the web for review sites and other marketing ideas.
DRINK MORE COFFEE and sulk for a while.
BACK ON TO WATER NOW TO STOP THE JITTERS - need to concentrate. My target for each day is 3,000 words but there are many days this doesn’t happen. Fingers hover over the keyboard and … I’m away.
CHECK SALES. STARE OUT OF WINDOW.
RING FELLOW INDIE FOR A MOAN - Michelle Betham and I started on this journey at the same time and act as lifelines for one another. I truly do not know what I’d do without her.
CHECK TWITTER - another lovely reader has left a comment. The vote of confidence gives me a boost and I hit my 3,000 word target.
This process continues for most of the day and into the night. I’ve sold more books (and made more friends) during my night-time Twittering than through any other means. Don’t tell me Twitter is crap!
Then, when the work in progress is complete, everything goes up another notch. Reading, re-reading, editing, formatting, cover design, getting the word out there. As an Indie, that month leading up to a book’s release is a killer.
Fancy giving it a go? Would you still tell someone they ‘choose not to work’? I can honestly tell you, I have never worked harder.
I’m not complaining - I love every minute of it - although sometimes I’d just like to be left to write the books and leave the rest to someone else.
But - not working? - I don’t think so!
Leave comments, if you dare!