Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Leigh Russell - Becoming a full time author - Author contribution
All budding authors have a dream, to write full time and give up their day job. But it's a daunting life change and one that most writers seek advice from other writers on. Leigh Russell has made that move and reflects on the impact it has made on her life.
Sales of my first series, with detective Geraldine Steel, had exceeded my wildest hopes. My publisher had commissioned a spin off series. With two manuscripts to deliver each year, I was working round the clock. Something had to go. Obviously it was the day job. So far so good. After six years as a published author, I found myself in the enviable position of earning a very decent living from writing fiction.
Was it coincidence that I also found that I wasn't sleeping so soundly at night? For several decades I had worked as a school teacher. Say what you will about the stress teachers face, they don't have to worry about the next pay cheque. Every month, on the dot, the money goes into the bank account like clockwork. Until that point writing had been my escape from my working life. All at once, it became my working life. Impressive book sales were no longer a matter for congratulation. They were my income.
At this point I began to realise that 'full-time writer' is something of a misnomer. The days when an author could do nothing but write are long gone, for most of us at least. You might expect that I would have a lot more time to devote to my writing, now that I'm writing full-time. That was certainly my expectation when I gave up the day job. The reality is somewhat different. I hesitate to admit that I'm actually doing less writing now than when I was working. 'Writers' block,' you mutter knowingly. You couldn't be more wrong.
What keeps me from writing is that I'm just too busy. In October I'm going to York, ostensibly to research the area for the next Ian Peterson book. In the eleven days I'm there, I have sixteen author visits arranged, including radio interviews, talks at local libraries and colleges, and signing in bookshops. I'm going to struggle to fit in all my research. Writing won't get a look in. My summer was even busier, with trips to Greece and France along with all my commitments in the UK.
Here I am, living the dream. It's great fun, but I do sometimes look back at the days when all I did was work full-time in a normal job, and write books. Life was so much simpler then, and certainly not so exhausting.
So would I turn the clock back? No way!
Leigh's latest book, Race to Death, is now out and we will be reviewing it later this month. The Mole has enjoyed reviewing all of Leigh's books either here on our blog or on Nayu's Reading Corner
Leigh Russell writes the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson crime series. Links to her books, blog, facebook and twitter accounts, and her programme of events, can be found on her website http://leighrussell.co.uk