Goodbye to the day job

Well, this week I took a step I often dreamed of, but never thought would happen. I quit my day job to concentrate on full time writing.

My book, House At Baker Street is on Amazon now. It’s the first in a series of Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson mysteries (yes, the women from the Sherlock Holmes stories). Pan Macmillan bought it, and have published it, and will publish the next in the story, and I am currently writing the third and planning the fourth and fifth. My writing has gone from something I’d do in the evenings, to something that takes up a large chunk of my time. There’s no way I can do this and a day job.

I’ve got enough money to keep me for six months. In that six months, I have to find out if I can earn enough money to live on from writing.

I’m constantly reading articles saying authors don’t earn enough money. The lower paid ones barely earn a few thousand a year. I’m always reading articles about how low paid authors are. So, when I handed in my notice, I had an attack of nerves. I went around wondering if I’d done the right thing, and wouldn’t it be far better to wait until I was sure, absolutely sure that I can earn a living?

But I’m trying to write. When I had a week off, I wrote all day. I wandered around the park and worked out what I was going to write, and came home and wrote all afternoon and then planned what was next and where I was going and what I needed to think about next. Going back to the day job and reducing that five or six hours work on the book to a just an hour a day actually hurt. I felt I’d been ripped away from what I was supposed to be doing. I was writing ten or twelve pages a day, now I can barely manage three. My thinking and planning time has been severely reduced, and it shows in what I’m producing.

So, the nerves melted away, replaced by a need to write and a feeling that I am doing the right thing. I must try. I may fail, but I MUST try.

So, on 31st December, I shall work my last day in my day job. On 1st January 2016, I begin my life as a full time writer. I hope it lasts.


3 responses to “Goodbye to the day job

  1. Believe. You are a writer, now be the writer.

  2. Dear Ms. Birkby,
    I am not sure how to reach you so I am writing through this medium.
    First, let me congratulate you on behalf of the Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate and Arthur Conan Doyle Characters Ltd for your success and your new contract with PanMacMillan. It is a great achievement.
    My husband and I have recently become involved with the companies following my mother, Andrea Plunket’s illness.
    We both want to support all the licensees in any way we can so that they don’t feel they are just paying licensing fees without getting anything in return
    To this end, we have recently updated our website and would like to offer it as a resource. The number of visitors to the website has greatly increased since the update and we would like to share this interest with thelicensees.
    We have already dedicated full web pages to a few of your colleagues including Andrew Lane and Anthony Horowitz. We would like to offer you the possibility of having your own page on our website.
    In addition, we update our NEWS page monthly and encourage you to submit any material you feel appropriate.
    In case you are wondering, these are services that we offer as a courtesy there are no charges attached.
    You can have a look at the site here: .

    Please accept my warmest regards,
    Caroline McCarthy
    The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate
    Arthur Conan Doyle Characters Ltd

  3. Congrats on your upcoming book and good luck with your new choice of employment. I know of a few fellow writers who have done or either are in the process of doing the exact same thing, and it’s definitely a challenge for them. Don’t know if you have a second income in your household (I don’t thing you’ve talked about your private life much in the past 8 years) that will help offset your living expenses;, but good luck just the same.

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